It’s World Mental Health Day – but mental health must be a priority every day

Today (October 10) is World Mental Health Day, on the heels of Mental Illness Awareness Week in the United States. This day is an important reminder of the importance of taking care of one’s mental health and the need for workplaces and society to support those struggling with mental health challenges.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), 1 in 5 U.S. adults experience mental illness each year, and 1 in 20 U.S. adults experience serious mental illness each year. In addition, per NAMI’s data, 1 in 6 U.S. youth aged 6-17 experience a mental health disorder each year.

World Mental Health Day NAMI Mental Illness statistics

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought on new mental health challenges for many, as we’ve reported. Bio.News reached out to several organizations that focus on championing mental health awareness to bring attention to this vitally important issue – here’s what they said about the importance of World Mental Health Day and how we need to address mental illness in America.

Mental Health America

“During World Mental Health Day, we bring attention to those who continue to live with mental illness and highlight the need to address the systematic inequities that result in barriers to care,” Schroeder Stribling, President and CEO of Mental Health America, told Bio.News.

“Nearly 50 million American adults live with a mental health condition and more than half do not receive treatment,” continued Stribling. “At Mental Health America, we have seen the COVID-19 pandemic worsen the current mental health crisis and increase the number of people looking for support.” Furthermore, the pandemic has impacted some more than others, especially “among the youth of our country and within communities of color and other marginalized groups.”

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA)

The Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA) – the leading national organization focusing on mood disorders, including depression and bipolar disorder, which affect over 21 million Americans – told Bio.News, “DBSA is committed to providing hope, help, support, and education to improve the lives of people living with mood disorders when, where, and however they need them.”

“World Mental Health Day reminds all of us to continue advocating for more resources and services to meet the ever-growing mental health and wellness needs of our society,” continued DBSA. “Because of the effects of stigma in our society, which discourages people from talking more openly about their mental health, we know the actual numbers of people living with mood disorders are much higher.”

National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)

“Each year, millions of Americans face the reality of living with a mental health condition,” NAMI’s Chief Development Officer Jessica Edwards told Bio.News.

“However, mental illness affects everyone directly or indirectly through family, friends, or coworkers,” Edwards added. Because of this, “each year, NAMI and participants across the country raise awareness of mental illness, fight discrimination, and provide support through Mental Illness Awareness Week (MIAW) and continue this work on World Mental Health Day, and every day.”

If you or a loved one is struggling with a mental health concern, please consider looking into these resources from Mental Health America, DBSA, and NAMI.

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