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Building Awareness About Mental Health

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Although not commonly discussed, mental health conditions are actually very common. Approximately 1 in 5 adults - 43.8 million Americans - experience mental illness in a given year; however, only 41% received treatment in the past year. Left untreated, these conditions can result in lost earnings, hospitalization, medical issues including substance use/abuse, leaving school or employment, incarceration, and in some cases suicide. Oftentimes, when an individual suffers from mental illness, the whole family is affected.
Half of all chronic mental illnesses begin as early as age 14 and three-quarters begin by age 24, yet there are often long delays - sometimes decades - between the first sign of symptoms and when people seek professional help. Some of this is due to the challenges of detection. We all have our ups and downs, but it is often difficult to know whether we are just having a "bad day" or series of bad days, or if we have early signs of diagnosable mental illness.
Similar to medical conditions, there is a benefit to early detection and treatment of mental health conditions. We have included an infographic that illustrates the progression of mental illness. Treatment in its early stages can reduce the impact it has on your life and the lives of those closest to you. Studies reveal that some people may be reluctant to seek treatment because of perceived stigma or reluctance to take medication.
There are a variety of effective treatments available. Depending on the type of condition and severity, options may include a combination of individual or group counseling or a peer support network. In some cases medication will be prescribed.
Understanding the symptoms of mental health conditions, and asking for help are the first steps on your path to recovery. If you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms of mental illness, please call our office at (203) 966-3911 and we will assist you in accessing resources. If you have symptoms of suicide, call 911 or go to your local hospital immediately.