From: Helen Newell
President, NAMI Winona
I live with major depression. Knowing some mental health facts and fighting stigma are very important to me. Knowing that I’m not alone with my mental health challenges is helpful. Listed below are facts and insights from NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness).
One in five adults in the United States lives with a mental health condition. One in 25 (10 million) adults in the United States lives with a serious mental illness. Sixty million people in the United States face the day-to-day reality of living with a mental illness. Half of all lifetime mental health conditions begin by age 14 and 76 percent by age 24, but early intervention programs can help. Ninety percent of those who die by suicide have an underlying mental illness. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States, but suicide is preventable.
The best treatments for serious mental illnesses today are highly effective; between 70 and 90 percent of individuals have significant reduction of symptoms and improved quality of life with the right treatments and supports.
People experiencing mental health conditions often face rejection, bullying and even discrimination. This can make their journey to recovery longer and more difficult. Stigma is when someone, or you yourself, views you in a negative way because you have a mental health condition. Some people describe stigma as shame that can be felt as a judgement from someone else or a feeling that is internal, something that confuses feeling bad with being bad.
Navigating life with a mental health condition can be tough, and the isolation, blame and secrecy that is often encouraged by stigma can create huge challenges to reaching out, getting needed support and living well. Learning how to cope with stigma and how to avoid and address stigma are important for all of us.
Please help those of us living with mental illness by understanding stigma and working toward eliminating it! Thank you.