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May is also Mental Health Awareness Month

May 20, 2015 02:00PM ● By Cate Reynolds
A look at statistics from National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) certainly confirms the need for mental health awareness.

A statement from Thomas Insel, M.D., NIMH director, issued on May 15, tells the tale: “Our best estimate of the number of adults with any diagnosable mental disorder within the past year is nearly 1 in 5, or roughly 43 million Americans. Although most of these conditions are not disabling, nearly 10 million American adults (1 in 25) have serious functional impairment due to a mental illness, such as a psychotic or serious mood or anxiety disorder. Fully 20 percent—1 in 5—of children ages 13-18 currently have and/or previously had a seriously debilitating mental disorder. By comparison, 8.3 percent of children under age 18 have asthma and 0.2 percent have diabetes.”

According to the Mayo Clinic, untreated mental illness can cause severe emotional, behavioral, and physical health problems. Mental illness can also cause legal and financial problems. Complications sometimes linked to mental illness include:
  • Unhappiness and decreased enjoyment of life
  • Weakened immune system, so your body has a hard time resisting infections
  • Family conflicts
  • Relationship difficulties
  • Social isolation
  • Problems with tobacco, alcohol, and other drugs
  • Missed work or school or other problems related to work or school
  • Poverty or homelessness
  • Self-harm and harm to others, including suicide or homicide
  • Increased risk of motor vehicle accidents
  • Heart disease and other medical conditions
A quick perusal of this Mayo Clinic list clearly shows that ALL of us have something to gain from improved mental health care.

--Sarah Hagerty
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What’s Up? does not give medical advice. This material is simply a discussion of current information, trends, and topics. Please seek the advice of a physician before making any changes to your lifestyle or routine.