By Lynn Schneider, Director of Community Relations, Park Royal Hospital
Mental health refers to our psychological and emotional well-being; it affects how we think, feel, and how we behave. An individual’s mental health can affect his or her daily life, relationships, and even physical health. Just like other disorders, mental health conditions can make it difficult for a person to cope with the demands of everyday life.
Each year, in the United States alone, there are millions of Americans who are trying to cope with a mental health disorder. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), approximately 57.7 million Americans suffer from a mental health disorder each year, which is about 26.2% of adults. This comes down to one out of every four adults, and one out of every five children and teens, that will experience a mental health problem each year. More specifically, when thinking about the most common mental health disorders, depression affects 6.7% of the adult population, anxiety affects 18.1%, bipolar disorder affects 2.6%, and schizophrenia affects 1%. There are also a number of other disorders that are not regularly talked about that can have just as much of an impact on an individual as the ones listed above.
October 5 through 11 is National Mental Health Week in recognition of the National Alliance on Mental Illness’s (NAMI) determination to raise mental health awareness. Since being established by Congress in 1990, mental health care advocates have come together with other communities in order to sponsor activities that educate individuals about mental illness. During this week, NAMI and other participants nationwide will bring awareness to mental health issues, fight the stigma associated with mental illness, provide support for those who are struggling with mental health conditions, educate the public, and advocate for equal care. By highlighting these issues during this week each year, it provides people with a time to come together and show support of those who are trying to help improve the lives of people affected by mental illness.
When mental illnesses are ignored, or not properly treated, it can have a devastating impact on not only the individuals suffering from them, but on society as a whole. People who are not provided with options for receiving treatment run the risk of becoming homeless, getting into legal and financial troubles, or even facing an early death. Education about mental illness is extremely important because the more people know about these disorders, the better they will be able to help themselves, families, and communities to get the help they need. Early identification and treatment can make a monumental difference.
At Park Royal Hospital and Behavioral Health Services, we acknowledge National Mental Health Week because we recognize the importance of educating the community so they are not only aware of what mental health is, but how they can get help.
This month, or closely thereafter, there are numerous events throughout Southwest Florida to raise awareness and support for National Mental Health Week.
. Thursday, October 9: Southwest Florida Coalition for Optimal Behavioral Health & Aging Conference “Putting Theory into Practice” at United Way of Lee County. For health care professionals. RSVP to Kim@UnitedWayLee.org.
. Saturday, October 11: Drug Free Coalition of South west Florida “Run for Prevention and Walkathon” at Lakes Park. Open to public. For information contact email@example.com.
. Tuesday, October 14: Hope Clubhouse Mental Health Symposium “Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis” at Broadway Palm Theatre. Tickets may be purchased by calling 239-267-1777.
. Friday, October 24: “Unveiling the Mask of Mental Illness” Awareness Event hosted by the Lee County Chapter of NAMI at The Heights Center. For information contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
. Tuesday, October 14: “Focus on Mental Health” at ABWA Sanibel/Captiva Monthly Meeting. Email email@example.com for details.