NAMI South Bay Observes Mental Illness Awareness Week

October 6-12, 2013

Mental Illness Awareness Week (MIAW) is an opportunity to learn more about serious mental illnesses such as major depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). “It’s time to make a difference through dialogue about mental illness throughout our community,” said Paul Stansbury, President of  NAMI South Bay. “Mental illness does not discriminate. It can strike anyone at any time. Fortunately recovery is possible. Treatment works—if a person can get it.” One in four adults experiences a mental health problem in any given year. One in five young people aged 13 to 18 also experience mental illness. In fact, one-half of all mental illness begins by the age of 14–three-quarters by age 24. Unfortunately, there are long delays–sometimes decades–between the first appearance of symptoms and when people get help. Less than one-third of adults and less than one-half of children with a diagnosed illness receive treatment. “Everyone should know about the nature of mental illness and the symptoms of different conditions,” said Stansbury. Information about specific illnesses, diagnosis and treatment options is available at www.nami.org.

  • About 42 million Americans live with anxiety disorders, including obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • About 15 million live with major depression.
  • About 6 million live with bipolar disorder.
  • About 2.6 million live with schizophrenia.

“You are never alone,” said Stansbury. “Know where to find help if it’s needed. Most people start with their primary care doctor. Many start by confiding in a close family member of friend. Don’t be afraid to speak up.”

“The U.S. Surgeon General has reported that stigma is a major barrier to people seeking help when they need it,” Stansbury said. “That’s why MIAW is so important. We want people to understand mental illness and join in conversations throughout our community. The more people know, the better they can help themselves or help their loved ones get the support they need.”

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