Millions of Americans are faced with the daily challenge of living with a mental health condition. According to a recent report from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), one in five U.S. adults (47.6 million people) experienced some form of mental illness during the past year, and about 43% of American adults with a mental health issue received some form of treatment during 2018.
Mental health conditions affect not only the individuals facing these challenges, but also influence relationships with family, friends, and colleagues. Yet despite the common nature of mental illness, fewer than half of those with a mental health challenge are actively receiving treatment. For these reasons, Congress designated October 6–12 as Mental Illness Awareness Week (MIAW), a time when the National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI) and other organizations join together in raising awareness about mental health issues, reducing the stigma associated with mental illness, and promoting treatment options for those seeking help.
Mental illness affects over 46 million Americans, and covers a broad spectrum—from anxiety and depression to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), bipolar disorder, and borderline personality disorder. And mental health challenges are not limited to adults. According to SAMHSA, over 16% of young people aged 6–17 experienced some form of mental illness during 2016.
Increased Risk for Physical Health Problems
Mental health disorders have also been linked to an increased risk for physical health problems. A recent article published in the British medical journal The Lancet noted that people with clinical depression are at a 40% increased risk for developing cardiovascular and metabolic disease. Those with a mental health disorder are also more likely to struggle with addiction and substance abuse issues.
Many of those with a mental health diagnosis find themselves experiencing additional community challenges. A recent HUD report noted that over 20% of U.S. homeless persons have some form of mental illness—and those with untreated mental illness suffer far higher rates of incarceration than are seen in the general population. Those with a mental illness are also more likely to be stigmatized, which can reduce the chances of finding employment, limit housing options, and negatively impact quality of life.
One way you can help is to educate yourself and others about the facts of mental illness. NAMI promotes several initiatives aimed at protecting people’s access to treatment and services, attaining mental health parity, securing better funding for mental health research, and advocating for better mental health legislation.
NAMI sponsors fundraising and awareness-building events called NAMIWalks around the nation. For those of us in Central Kentucky, area, now’s our chance to participate!
Date: Saturday, October 12
Location: Whitaker Bank Ballpark, Lexington
Distance: 5k walk
Check-in: 10:00 am
Start Time: 12:00 noon
For more info, contact:
498 Georgetown St., Suite 100
Lexington, KY 40508
Julie Joseph, Community Outreach & Program Coordinator
At Key Assets Kentucky, we are committed to providing professional and compassionate care to all members of our community. We urge you to get involved in promoting Mental Illness Awareness Week and encourage you to participate in both local events and the national conversation on mental health.
Key Assets Kentucky, is a behavioral health and child caring company based in Central Kentucky. Through our Key Assets Behavioral Health program and Children in Community Care program, we seek to positively impact the lives of children, young people, their families. We specialize in offering support services via residential treatment group home care for youth with autism and/or developmental disabilities, and behavioral health therapy and case management services for youth, adults and families in times of crisis. Key Assets Kentucky is part of the Key Assets Group, an international group of companies delivering a continuum of services for children, adults and families.