• Dr. Lauren O'Byrne

Mental Illness Awareness Week

Each year, millions of Americans face the reality of living with a mental health condition. Mental illness can affect everyone either directly or indirectly through family, friends or coworkers. Despite mental illnesses’ reach and prevalence, stigma and misunderstanding are also, unfortunately, widespread.

The following statistics demonstrate how common mental illness is in the United States:

  1. 1 in 5 adults experience mental illness each year

  2. 1 in 25 adults experience serious mental illness each year

  3. 1 in 6 youth aged 6-17 experience a mental health disorder each year

  4.  Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death among people aged 10-34

It is important to understand that treatment exists for mental illness. In general, these include medications, counseling/therapy or a combination of the two. Ignoring symptoms will not make the illness go away. In some instances, failure to get help can lead to serious consequences such as suicide. Mental illness can also lead to illegal drug abuse, which can complicate these conditions even further. Mental health should be discussed and addressed because it can affect physical health and vice versa. If you or someone you know is experiencing depression, anxiety or sleeping problems, contact your doctor.

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