The merry month of May is Mental Health Month. During this month, Americans, along with several organizations such as NAMI, TWLOHA, and Mental Health America, raise awareness of mental illness. This might include fighting the stigma of mental illness, educating the general public through events and the media, offering screening services, and supporting people with mental illness.

Mental Health Month, sometimes referred to as Mental Health Awareness Month, was started by Mental Health America in 1949. That means this year, 2019, marks 70 years since the first Mental Health Month.

Before shrugging off mental illness because it doesn’t affect you personally, at some point, it likely will. According to NAMI:

  • 1 in 5 people in the United States will be affected by mental illness in their lifetime. That’s 18.5 percent of the adult population — a staggering 43.8 million people.
  • 16 million adults in the US have had at least one major depressive episode in the past year.
  • Nearly 18 percent of adults in the US have experienced anxiety disorders, such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder.
  • The lack of treatment options, availability, and affordability in the US has dire consequences. It costs America $193.2 billion in lost earnings each year. Adults in the US living with serious mental illness die, on average, 25 years earlier than others, largely due to treatable conditions. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the US, and more than 90 percent of those who died by suicide showed symptoms of a mental health condition.

For Mental Health Month, elitefts will be publishing several articles on the subject and a list of resources for anyone who needs help.

If you or a loved one needs help, reach out to these resources.  All hotlines listed below are available 24/7 and are confidential unless otherwise noted. In case of an emergency, call your local authorities.