May is the time to share mental health stories

“Life with a Mental Illness.” That’s the theme of this year’s Mental Health Month, a time to share stories about what life is like with a mental illness using the hashtag #mentalillnessfeelslike.

The theme is an attempt to address the stigma surrounding mental illness and make people aware that treatment is available. Talking about mental illness can make a difference. It helps others understand that mental illness is more common than they might think, and it can serve as a wake-up call to others.

Statistics from the National Alliance on Mental Illness show that nearly 44 million Americans experience an episode of mental illness in a given year and almost 10 million Americans live with a serious mental illness.

It’s a problem that usually shows up early in life. About half the time, chronic mental illness begins by age 14 and three-quarters occurs by age 24. Treatment is effective, but unfortunately nearly 60 percent of adults with a mental illness did not receive services in the past year.

There are many resources available to learn more about mental health. NAMI offers a guide to common warning signs that indicate someone might have a mental illness. Cenpatico Integrated Care provides mental health information on its website and has a 24/7 crisis services hotline at 866-495-6735 for anyone who may be experiencing a crisis and needs help immediately.

The Arizona Department of Health Services also provides important information about what to do when you’re concerned about someone’s mental health.

We encourage you to take the time to learn more about mental illness. Through education, we can change perceptions and we can make a difference.

Terry Stevens
President and CEO
Cenpatico Integrated Care

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