By Kristina Alnajjar, Rural Program Associate
Mental illness affects 10% of Americans today. That is 1 in 10 people who have mental health disorders. Mental Illness comes in many forms including major depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, panic attacks, schizophrenia and more. Fewer than 25% of people with a diagnosable mental disorder seek treatment. Even fewer are in supportive environments where their disease is discussed. The ripple effects on families, friends and communities are huge. Since May is Mental Health Awareness Month, we wanted to talk about mental illness with you.
Great Resource: An evidence based program that encourages dialogue and increased understanding for family members of those with a mental illness is called The Family-To-Family Program, developed by the National Alliance on Mental Illness. It is a 12-week course that is taught by other graduates of the program. With over 115,000 people trained, the studies have shown it reduces subjective burden and worry, increases empowerment and increases understanding of the mental health system. To find a program in Washington—click here.
Whether or not you have a friend or family member with a mental health concern, it is important to be aware of the diseases and resources as they exist in your communities wherever you live. Several recent movies depict the reality of mental illness. Check them out this month.