Since 1949, Mental Health America and our affiliates across the country have led the observance of May is Mental Health Month by reaching millions of people through the media, local events and screenings. We welcome other organizations to join us in spreading the word that mental health is something everyone should care about by using the May is Mental Health Month toolkit materials and conducting awareness activities.
This year’s theme for Mental Health Month is - Life with a Mental Illness - and will call on individuals to share what life with a mental illness feels like for them in words, pictures and video by tagging their social media posts with #mentalillnessfeelslike (or submitting to MHA anonymously). Posts will be collected and displayed at mentalhealthamerica.net/feelslike.
Posting with the hashtag will allow people to speak up about their own experiences, to share their point of view with individuals who may be struggling to explain what they are going through—and help others figure out if they too are showing signs of a mental illness. Sharing is the key to breaking down negative attitudes and misperceptions surrounding mental illnesses, and to show others that they are not alone in their feelings and their symptoms.
Check out these statistics below from The National Alliance on Mental Illness of Texas (NAMI Texas):
Numbers of Americans Affected by Mental Illness One in four adults−approximately 61.5 million Americans−experiences mental illness in a given year. One in 17−about 13.6 million−live with a serious mental illness such as schizophrenia, major depression or bipolar disorder.1 Approximately 20 percent of youth ages 13 to 18 experience severe mental disorders in a given year. For ages 8 to 15, the estimate is 13 percent.2 Approximately 1.1 percent of American adults— about 2.4 million people—live with schizophrenia. 3,4 Approximately 2.6 percent of American adults−6.1 million people−live with bipolar disorder. 4,5 Approximately 6.7 percent of American adults−about 14.8 million people−live with major depression.4,6 Approximately 18.1 percent of American adults−about 42 million people−live with anxiety disorders, such as panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), generalized anxiety disorder and phobias.4,7 About 9.2 million adults have co-occurring mental health and addiction disorders. 8 Approximately 26 percent of homeless adults staying in shelters live with serious mental illness and an estimated 46 percent live with severe mental illness and/or substance use disorders. 9 Approximately 20 percent of state prisoners and 21 percent of local jail prisoners have “a recent history” of a mental health condition. 10 Seventy percent of youth in juvenile justice systems have at least one mental health condition and at least 20 percent live with a severe mental illness.