I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for the California Mental Health Services Authority. I received a promotional item as a thank you for participating. The views and opinions expressed here are my own.
Did you know that one in four American adults suffers from a diagnosable mental health illness in a given year? That's right, mental illness isn't something that only happens to "other people". The odds are that you know someone who is experiencing mental health challenges -- but due to the stigma surrounding mental illness, that person probably doesn't tell anyone. Even worse, that person may not be seeking help for their condition!
Even in this day and age, people who suffer from mental illness are considered "weak" or "soft". People look at them funny, expecting them to do weird or crazy things. Kids make fun of them, growunups avoid them. I remember spending summer vacations in my dad's hometown and spying on the neighborhood "crazies". Looking back, I'm sure two poor women we made fun of suffered from some type of mental illness. We were kids, and we didn't know any better. Now I do know better, and I always tell my kids to act with compassion, because you don't know what you would do if you were in their place.
Did you know:
· Nearly one-third (31-32%) of California’s 9th and 11th grade public school students reported extended feelings of sadness/hopelessness in the last year. Among younger students, more than one in four (28%) 7th graders reported such feelings.
· Research shows that half of all mental disorders start by age 14 and three-quarters start by age 24.3
· But, an average of 6 to 8 years pass after the onset of mood disorder symptoms – 9 to 23 years for anxiety disorder symptoms – before young people get help.
Last month I announced my participation in the Each Mind Matters Blog Ambassador program, joining the California Mental Health Services Authority to share ways to learn more about mental illness. Here are three great ways to get informed:
Latino Family Forums: Hosting forums across the state, Citizen Relations has gained deeper understanding on how Latinos view issues related to mental illness. The insights obtained from these forums will be used to engage and inform Latino families with young children about mental health and the dangers of stigma.
· ReachOut.com: An online resource for information and conversation among young people who are struggling with mental health challenges, or who want to help.
· WalkInOurShoes.org: An interactive website featuring real-life narratives from California teens. It includes a place for teens to design a virtual shoe that portrays and communicates each teen’s unique perspective, thoughts and feelings.
Finally, it all begins with you! The only way to end the stigma surrounding mental illness, is for individuals change their mindsets and make a stand. To start, you can Join the Movement, take the Each Mind Matters pledge and learn ways you can support people with mental health challenges.
Disclosure: I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for the California Mental Health Services Authority. I received a promotional item as a thank you for participating. Information (in italics) was provided by the California Mental Health Services Authority, via Mom Central. The views and opinions expressed here are my own. The views and opinions expressed here are my own.