May is Mental Health Month: Help Stop the Stigma, you may Save a Life

Everyone feels strongly about some cause. There are many ways to show one's support such as donating money, advocating, blogging, and/or educating their friends and family. May is Mental Health Month and I will do anything I can to ERADICATE THE STIGMA OF MENTAL ILLNESS by promoting mental health awareness.

I understand why so many disorders choose a specific month to spread awareness of their disease. Telethons are held for disorders such as cancer, Alzheimer's disease and neuromuscular diseases. Telethons not only educate millions of people but also raise millions to billions of dollars for research to find a cure.

mental-health-monthThere are no telethons for mental illness even though 50% of adult Americans will develop at least one mental illness during their lifetime. In fact, close to 1 of 4 Americans already have a mental illness (American Psychological Association).  Let's put this in perspective. Approximately 6,000 Americans a year are diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral schlerosis (ALS) while 45.1 million a year are diagnosed with a mental disorder. Plus, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States.

ALS is a horrific disease and one of many causes I support. My point is that EVERYONE in their lifetime will either be affected by a mental health condition themselves or know someone who is dealing with one. With mental illness being so prevalent, why doesn't it get the same support as many of the other disorders? Because there is a stigma with mental illness, it is viewed in a negative way even though mental illness is no different than any other disorder.

The stigma regarding mental health is diminishing but not fast enough. The only way to eradicate the stigma completely is by speaking honestly about it. Many people who need help are afraid to seek it out because they worry what people will think of them. In my practice, people have no problem discussing their high blood pressure, diabetes, or erectile dysfunction with me, yet, they rarely bring up any struggles they are having with a mental health problem.

I consistently ask my patients how they are doing emotionally. I do this because I know if one is not in a good place psychologically it will negatively affect their physical health. I also know people are afraid to bring it up and I want my patients to know that talking about it is important and I am here to listen and help.

I see a psychologist and I am not afraid or embarrassed to admit to this. When I realized I was not where I wanted to be in my mental health I made the decision to do something and it was one of the best things I could ever do for myself. I am not weak, in fact, I am strong because I want to be the best that I can be in all aspects of my life including my mental well-being.

mental-health-awareness

I implore you to act if you or some you know is suffering with depression, anxiety, or any mental health issue to get help. Doing nothing should never be an option because it benefits no one. Join me in stopping the stigma by having open and honest discussions regarding mental health...you may just save a life.

My posts regarding mental health:

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder can affect anyone, including me

If the stress of Life gives you lots of lemons you can make lemonade with help

Stop the Stigma: Mental illness is no different from physical illness

Your mental health affects your physical health

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    Nancy Chodash

    I am a nurse practitioner who not only treats patients, but has had chronic illnesses including cancer so I understand how frustrating medicine can be. But through all this, I have never lost my sense of humor and my ability to make people laugh. I love to cook, and since becoming gluten-free a year ago, I have recipes for everyone's tastes whether it be healthy, decadent, vegetarian, or gluten-free. My philosophy is all about health, food, laughter and life!

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