May Is National Mental Health Month
May is National Mental Health Month to raise awareness for mental illness and related issues in the United States. While attitudes towards mental health issues appear to be changing, there is still stigma associated with mental illness. The growing acceptance towards mental health issues and support for people with them began in the late 1940's, when the first National Mental Health Awareness Week was launched in the United States. During the 1960's, this annual, week-long campaign was upgraded to a month long campaign with May as the designated month. The need for consistent mental health treatment was recognized when President John F. Kennedy established the Community Mental Health Act of 1963.
A survey conducted by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), found that most college students withdrew because of mental health problems suffered from depression, bipolar disorder or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Today, nearly 50% of the U.S. population, ages 15 to 54, report at least one psychiatric disorder. And 64% of college students who experience mental health problems end up withdrawing from school. The U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs estimates that a veteran dies by suicide every 80 minutes; and that 35% of returning vets seen at VA facilities are diagnosed with some form of mental illness or disorder.
Severe and persistent mental illness and addictions, have profound consequences for individuals, their families, and society at large. Those who live with mental health and addiction problems are encouraged to seek help.