Statistics don’t help when you’re in pain.
However, discovering how many other people face and overcome challenges with mental health disorders removes the stigma. Learning you’re not the only one might bolster your courage to seek proper treatment and move to a healthier point in life.
May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Established nearly 80 years ago, this designation provides an opportunity for proper dialogue about mental illnesses that impact one in five Americans. It allows light into the dark places so people can find ways to address the underlying causes and get the help they deserve.
Mental Health America (MHA) and other health affiliates use the month of May to help people understand the following:
- Mental health issues affect everyone, regardless of gender, culture, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or race.
- Approximately 10 million people live with a severe mental disorder. That’s roughly one person for every 25.
- About half of all chronic mental health conditions start by age 14, and nearly three quarters by age 24. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) reports that the span of time between early symptoms and treatment is nearly 10 years.
- LGBTQ individuals are “two or more times likely as straight individuals to have a mental health condition.”
- Adult Native Americans and Alaska Natives have a higher rate of mental illness at approximately 28 percent of their population, followed by Caucasian adults (19 percent); Black adults (18 percent); Hispanic adults (16 percent); and Asian adults (14 percent).
- Teens ages 13–18 experience various forms of anxiety (32 percent); depression (13 percent); attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (nine percent); and various eating disorders (three percent).
- NAMI also presents that approximately one in four active duty military members experience a mental health condition. Two in 10 veterans with PTSD also have a substance use disorder.
- According to NAMI, more than 45 percent of people who die by suicide have diagnosed mental illnesses.
- “Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S.,” even though “suicidal thoughts are treatable, and suicide is preventable,” NAMI indicates.
- According to MHA, Arizona ranks “50 out of the 50 states and Washington, D.C. for providing access to mental health services”—and nearly 60 percent of people in the Grand Canyon State don’t receive the treatment they need for mental illnesses.
Unfortunately, MHA reports that people with mental illnesses also experience higher risks of substance abuse. The combination of an unmanaged mental health condition and substance addiction is known as a co-occurring disorder. So, while someone might suffer from addiction as a brain disease, they can only heal from it if all mental health issues are also addressed and treated effectively.
Mental Health Awareness Month is the perfect time to understand these conditions, reduce stigmas, and prompt positive action.
Step into the Light
Maybe you feel as though your life isn’t what it should be. You have certain thoughts, feelings, or behaviors that cause complications in your wellness, relationships, work, or ability to function day-to-day.
If you’ve had thoughts of harming yourself, please contact the free and confidential National Suicide Prevention Lifeline right away: 800-273-8255. If you have hearing difficulties, use the number of 800-799-4889, or start an online chat.
If you’ve not had an opportunity for a professional mental health assessment and are uncertain if you need one, MHA offers various confidential screening tools to help you begin the process. From depression to anxiety, eating disorders to addiction, these screenings help you determine if you have certain symptoms.
MHA stresses that a screening “isn’t a diagnostic instrument”—it’s a starting point to have a conversation with a healthcare provider. MHA also provides a youth screening and a parent screening, to help families address issues early. Each screening provides a general assessment based on responses, answers multiple questions, introduces action concepts, and offers additional resources.
Other anonymous screening assessments you might try include:
- SAMHSA-HRSA Center for Integrated Health Solutions, which stems from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, features a variety of assessments.
- MindWise Innovations directs respondents to key assistance locations in their states. For example, in Arizona, the MindWise assessment links to The University of Arizona.
- The Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance, which uses online screenings to help people understand if they need to take further steps with a mental health professional.
- Psychology Today encourages people to consider seeking out a therapist’s help after taking an assessment online.
- ULifeline, which allows an individual or a friend or loved one in college to take a self-evaluation, then provides resources at their school. For example, if you put in Arizona State University, then take the assessment, it will direct you to the confidential counseling resources at the university after it explains aspects of your screening.
Resources for Mental Health in Arizona
You might be aware that you have a mental health condition, but want access to more peer or professional support. MHA provides a listing of various support networks throughout the state. These groups aren’t meant to take the place of proper treatment, but they provide necessary connection and additional resources.
You can also consider:
- 2-1-1 Arizona
- Arizona Psychological Association
- Crisis Response Network
- Mental Health Arizona—Phoenix metro
- NAMI of Southern Arizona—Tucson metro, and NAMI Arizona
- Postpartum Support International—Arizona Chapters
- Southwest Network
How Cottonwood Can Help
Our standard of care addresses whole person wellness. That includes mental and emotional health. Process addictions, co-occurring disorders, and mood disorders—including trauma recovery—are all within our professional diagnostic ability and detailed treatment plans.
Trust us to help you understand aspects of mental health, and receive the proper care and management tools for a vibrant life. Your healing journey starts with the Cottonwood Assessment Program. Learn how we can assist you.