World Mental Health Day (10 October) is a day for global mental health education, awareness and advocacy against social stigma. It was first celebrated in 1992 at the initiative of the World Federation for Mental Health, a global mental health organization with members and contacts in more than 150 countries. This day, each October, thousands of supporters come to celebrate this annual awareness program to bring attention to mental illness and its major effects on peoples’ life worldwide. In some countries this day is part of an awareness week, such as Mental Health Week in Australia
- 1 in 5 (or 43.8 million) adults experience mental illness in a given year.
- 1 in 25 (or 10 million) adults experience a serious mental illness.
- 1 in 100 (or 2.4 million) live with schizophrenia.
- 2.6% (or 6.1 million) of Americans have bipolar disorder.
- 6.9% (or 16 million) suffer from severe depression.
- 18.1% (or 42 million) live with an anxiety disorder.
- 90% of those who die by suicide have an underlying mental illness.
- Only 41% of adults with a mental health condition received help and less than 50% of children 8-15 received mental health services.
- Only 36.9% of those suffering from anxiety receive treatment.
- Less than 20% of Americans with moderate depressive symptoms sought help from a medical professional.
- And 4% of young adults with self-reported mental health needs forego care.
These numbers are scary. As one with Bi-polar (“luckily” I’m type “2”, my manic phase is spending money, not rage), I understand the problems faced and the stigma that admitting you have a mental illness can bring. I take my meds as directed, and they usually work. However, like everything else, some days they don’t.
I’ve walked into a car dealership and bought a new truck, on my lunch break, just because I felt it was time. I’ve also laid in bed wondering how many sleeping pills I had left, and would it be enough?
I have never acted on any of the suicidal thoughts I’ve had. I’ve come close, but my fear is that I’d screw that up too and be in a coma the rest of life and become even more of a burden on my family.
Many times mental health is not understood in the same way as physical health. If you have the flu, your coworkers usually don’t want you around because you’re contagious. But if your depressed or having an anxiety attack, and take a day off, they don’t seem to understand. I have been a firm believer in “Mental Health Days” long before I was diagnosed.
Here’s a link to a story out of the UK of a boss that “get’s it.” Go read it and come back, I’ll wait for you.
Back now? Hope you enjoyed that story. It’s reassuring that there are other people in the world with the compassion to allow someone to take a needed break.
There are way too many different types of mental illnesses for me to list here. I know that several of friends, both in the real world and the online world, have some of the issues. I’d just like you to know that I’m here to listen to you. I’m not trained in counseling (although I was a paramedic for most of my military career), I will gladly listen and offer whatever help I can. There are millions of us out here with similar problems. We can help each other, along with trained medical folks. Get your counseling, if it helps, take your meds, meditate, follow whatever faith practice you like. We can do it.