“I have a typical middle class American background. I was a decent student in grade school. I wasn’t popular or unpopular in high school and had a close group of friends. I went on to college and graduated with honors and have since become fairly respected in my chosen career. I have a great job that I like very much. I have hobbies that fill my free time and charitable endeavors that I work to help out with as much as possible with my time, talents and resources. I belong to a church where my kids attend Sunday school. And I, along with 25% of adults, am mentally ill.”
I Am Mentally Ill… and I am Fighting
You are Not Alone – National Alliance on Mental Health
Since April, 2013, when President Obama declared May “National Mental Health Awareness Month,“ Capital EAP has embarked on a campaign of understanding.
Rather than focusing simply on the availability of counseling and support services through Capital EAP, we have sought to reinforce the messages coming from those in the medical community – that issues of mental health are far more wide spread and common than most people know, and that seeking assistance from a counselor can help.
Still, old ideas die hard. Misconceptions about mental illness persist. Too many people still believe that struggling with issues such as anxiety, fear, or depression, is a sign of weakness. Misunderstandings about what it means to have a mental health condition still leads to stigmatizing and ridicule. And believing that just dealing with it or sucking it up is a good answer, can sometimes lead to even more damaging behaviors such as alcohol and substance abuse, domestic violence, and even death.
More information is available than ever before about the facts of mental illness and mental health. For this issue of The Mentor, we’re going to direct you to a couple excellent resources for you to explore in depth.
You Are Not Alone is a feature of The National Alliance of Mental Health. This page asks people to share their story to inspire hope and break down stigma everywhere. It features hundreds of stories of the successes, failures, and challenges facing those with mental illness. It turns a mirror on many of us who face these same struggles but are afraid to talk about it.
For 65 years, Mental Health America and their affiliates across the country have led the observance of May as Mental Health Month by reaching millions of people through the media, local events and screenings. Their goals are to build public recognition about the importance of mental health to overall health and wellness; inform people of the ways that the mind and body interact with each other; and provide tips and tools for taking positive actions to protect mental health and promote whole health.