Mental illnesses affect everyone in one way or another. One in five people in the United States will be diagnosed with a mental illness at some point in their life. Approximately 44 million people are currently afflicted with a mental illness. You may have experienced a mental illness yourself, or you may have a friend or family member who has a mental illness.

Mental illness has a negative stigma. Society blames individuals for their mental illness. Mental illness is NOT a sign of weakness or poor character. It is not due to lifestyle choices or religious beliefs. An individual is not at fault for their mental illness. There are many factors correlated with the development of mental illnesses.

Mental illnesses range from a wide variety of inflictions. Some illnesses are more debilitating than others. Every mental illness is treatable. The most effective treatment is a combination of pharmacological (medication) and psychosocial (therapy) treatment.

Source: NAMI—The National Alliance on Mental Illness [Retrieved 2007];; 1-800-950-NAMI.


More on Stigma:

Stigma has been attached to people with mental illnesses and addictions for years. It's time for this to change! Stigma is more than calling someone a name. It is a barrier that discourages individuals and their families from seeking help. Insurance companies who neglect to include behavioral health coverage contribute to the stigma. Imagine cancer treatment not being covered by insurance because a person with cancer was considered weak or inadequate due to their inability to deal with daily life functioning. People attach labels to other people with mental illnesses. Families and friends shun people with psychiatric conditions. It does not have to be that way! So today, tell someone when you notice a stigmatizing attitude. You will have the opportunity sooner than you think!