May is Mental Health Awareness Month

Millions of Americans face the reality of living with a mental illness every day. During May, the Malheur County Health Department is raising awareness of mental health and the ways we can support those in our communities. It is important that together with many other service organizations, we fight stigma, provide resources, educate the public and advocate for people with mental illness and their families.

Mental Health Awareness Month brings attention to trauma and the impact it can have on the physical, emotional, and mental well-being of children, families, and communities. Mental health is essential for a person’s overall health. Prevention works, treatment is effective, and people can recover from mental disorders and live full and productive lives. For more information on mental health, children and families, visit Youth.gov.

One in six Oregonians live with mental illness. To raise awareness, fight stigma and encourage struggling individuals to seek help, two Oregonians share their stories in this brief video.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) wants to inspire others with the following facts.

Mental Health Facts

  • 1 in 5 (46.6 million) adults in the United States experience a mental health condition in a given year.
  • 1 in 25 (11.2 million) adults in the United States experience a serious mental illness in a given year.
  • Approximately 46.6 million adults in the United States face the reality of managing a mental illness every day.
  • Half of all lifetime mental health conditions begin by age 14 and 75% by age 24, but early intervention programs can help.
  • Up to 90% of those who die by suicide have an underlying mental illness as revealed by psychological autopsy. 46% of those who die by suicide have a diagnosed mental illness.
  • Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States. With effective care, suicidal thoughts are treatable, and suicide is preventable.

What is Stigma?

People experiencing mental health conditions often face rejection, bullying and even discrimination. This can make their journey to recovery longer and more difficult. Stigma is when someone, or you yourself, views you in a negative way because you have a mental health condition. Some people describe stigma as shame that can be felt as a judgement from someone else or a feeling that is internal, something that confuses feeling bad with being bad.

Navigating life with a mental health condition can be tough, and the isolation, blame and secrecy that is often encouraged by stigma can create huge challenges to reaching out, getting needed support and living well. Learning how to cope with stigma and how to avoid and address stigma are important for all of us.

Get Help

Recovery is possible. Help is available.

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