One out of five people in the United States experience mental illness during any given year. To raise awareness of this silent condition, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) kicked off Mental Health Month with their StigmaFree campaign.
The StigmaFree campaign urges individuals, companies, organizations and campuses to create an American culture in which the stigma that is often associated with mental health conditions is ended and replaced by hope and support for recovery.
“Stigma free environments promote and support acceptance and respect, while encouraging the help-seeking that makes recovery possible,” said NAMI Executive Director Mary Giliberti, in a press release. “It is our hope that this campaign will drive individuals and their families to be open about mental illness and get the help they need.”
NAMI encourages people to support this effort by educating themselves about mental illness, support loved ones with mental illness and spread the word about the issue.
One in 25 Americans will have a mental illness that interferes with daily life, and mental illness costs people $193.2 billion a year due to lost productivity, according to NAMI’s website. Not only are those with mental illness losing money, they also face a higher risk of serving jail time, dropping out of school and suffer from chronic health problems. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in America, and more than 90 percent of children who die by suicide had a mental illness. Lastly, mental illness drives 18 to 22 veterans a day to suicide.
NAMI Western Carolina chapter hosts several events this month to recognize Mental Health Month. At 6 p.m. May 13, NAMI presents “Living with Mental Illness” to help dispel myths and misconceptions related to mental illness. Presenters will convey that its possible – and common – to live, and live well, with a mental health diagnosis and that recovery is possible.
For more information about NAMI and Mental Health Month, visit www.nami.org or namiwnc.org.