May is Mental Health Month

Why does it matter to you if May is Mental Health Month? Mental health is a key component to a person’s overall health. According to estimates from the 2009 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, approximately one in five individuals aged 18 and older reported having a diagnosable mental illness in the previous year. Mental and substance abuse disorders often occur together and often with general medical conditions such as diabetes or heart disease.

Mental Health Month began in 1949 to raise awareness of mental health and wellness for all. It has been the mission of Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to reduce the impact of substance abuse and mental illness on America’s communities for a long time. By 2020, the World Health Organization projects, mental and substance abuse disorders will surpass all physical diseases as the major cause of disability worldwide. We’re talking about seven years, folks! One estimate puts the total economic costs of mental, emotional and behavioral disorders among youth in the United States at about $247 billion.

What can we do? We can educate ourselves about the significant health and societal impacts of these illnesses. We can let our legislators know they must do more for the one in four Americans living with a mental illness or a substance abuse condition. Google SAMHSA or Mental Health America or National Alliance on Mental Illness. These are all great sites to learn more about the family and friends we all know who are impacted by mental illness and substance abuse.

The Mental Health and Recovery Services Board of Seneca, Sandusky and Wyandot Counties is committed to sharing information and resources for better mental health and the prevention of substance abuse. If you would like more information, please call the Mental Health and Recovery Services Board of Seneca, Sandusky and Wyandot Counties at (419) 448-0640 between the hours of 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays. The board’s hotline is available 24/7 at (800) 826-1306.

Nancy Cochran, executive director