by Matt Goldenberg for the Huffington Post
You do not need to have mental illness to be a mental health advocate. Everyone is impacted by stress, grief and mood fluctuations at some point in their lives. A recent article in Newsweek points out that 1 in 5 Americans suffer from a mental illness.
Many individuals and their families and friends continue to struggle to access the help that they need. New federal regulations have helped to insure that there is paritybetween physical and mental health treatments. However, the current epidemics of military suicides, school shootings and heroin overdoses are evidence that more needs to be done.
Despite the obvious need for increased attention and care, mental illness continues to carry a stigma.
If you do not believe me, here are some facts about the stigma associated with mental illness:
Fact #1) While 1 in 5 Americans live with a mental disorder, estimates indicate that nearly two-thirds of all people with a diagnosable mental illness do not seek treatment.
Fact #2) Twenty to 25 percent of the homeless population in the United States suffers from some form of severe mental illness. Stigma leads to fear, mistrust, and violence against people living with mental illness and their families and causes family and friends to turn their backs on people with mental illness.
Fact #3) Between 25 percent and 40 percent of all Americans with mental illness will at some point pass through the criminal justice system. Stigma leads to prejudice and discrimination and poor treatment of those with mental illness.
Read more and learn 3 strategies for fighting stigma.