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A month-long emphasis on mental health and wellness drew to a close last week – the 65th annual national observance of a month focusing on mental illness, its diagnosis, treatment, healing and outreach to the families and friends touched by it.
Mental Health America is the national sponsor, but its professional and/or organizational affiliates in every state participate, bringing a message of honesty, optimism and candor to the issue and its consequences.
Perceptions about mental illness, thankfully, have changed dramatically through the decades, thanks to mental health departments, not-for-profit advocacy organizations and the successful treatment stories shared by patients.
Most people understand there is no shame in mental illness, but there is a challenge to seek treatment to get well.
The facts of mental illness in the United States are startling and need to be fully known:
— Nearly one in every five Americans age 18 and older will have a diagnosable mental health disorder in a given year, and 46.4 percent will experience a mental health disorder in the course of a lifetime.
— Stress, heavy drinking of alcoholic beverages and common health risks like obesity all contribute to mental disorders, as does a general lack of regular exercise.
The issue can best be measured in the stark human toll, and the needs created.
-Northeast Mississippi Journal, Tupelo