Publisher’s Perspective: May is Mental Health Awareness Month (opinion)
For the past two years, the Tribune has turned its logo green in support of Mental Health Awareness Month.
If you picked up the print edition today and noticed something a little different, it’s because we’re doing it again for a third year.
Why? Well, as I had stated several times in the past, I’m not sure there are many “awareness” months that are more important than mental health.
According to statistics complied by the National Alliance on mental illness:
Only 41% of adults in the U.S. with a mental health condition received mental health services in the past year.
Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S. — second in ages 10 – 34.
More than 90% of people who die by suicide show symptoms of a mental health condition.
Each day an estimated 18 – 22 veterans die by suicide.
Approximately 1 in 5 adults in the U.S. (18.5%) experiences mental illness in a given year.
Approximately 1 in 5 youth aged 13 – 18 (21.4%) experiences a severe mental disorder at some point during their life. For children 8 – 15, the estimate is 13%.
As a parent, I cannot look at statistics that involve a negative impact on children and not have a saddened reaction. This past year, I experienced an even greater situation involving mental illness with a family member.
The point of this is to say that we probably don’t have to look too far to find an example that hits close to home.
Why aren’t their greater resources set aside for mental health? We have many great services in our region, but the sad part is that we probably will never have enough — not at the rate we are seeing some of these statistics climb. There’s simply not enough support for all that is needed, and the cost to maintain existing services is staggering
Mental health can be hiding in everything from addiction to depression to anxiety and everything in between and outside.
But rather than play the downer card, let’s focus on the ways we can help. Whether that’s through awareness, advocacy, support or volunteering, the more people who can help spread the word about the services that are offered or simply understanding symptoms, the better.
If turning our logo green helps to do any of that, then mission accomplished.
Many people who suffer from mental illness go untreated. Many times it’s due to not knowing why they feel the way they do. Talk to the people you know and love. It could be the difference they need to get better.
Please join us in bringing awareness during the month of May (and beyond). Your effort, even if it helps only one person, could prove to life altering. Not just for them, but for you as well.
Publisher Rob Galloway can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 530-542-8046.