Raising awareness about mental health during the month of May

Health

ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) — Did you know that May is Mental Health Awareness Month? According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), more than 50 million people in the United States are living with mental health conditions.

The national movement was created to help raise awareness about mental health, fight the stigma, educate the public, and support people living with mental illness and their families.

In the U.S., more adults are willing to seek professional help for emotional distress.

More people are talking about mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic. During the past year, there was a spike in people reporting feelings of anxiety and isolation during the pandemic.

Even though one in five adults in Virginia lives with a mental health condition, Virginia ranks 41st in the nation for the availability of resources when it comes to mental health.

According to Blue Ridge Behavioral Healthcare, more people have been using telehealth resources to gain access to help.

However, NAMI says nearly 60 percent of adults with mental illness haven’t received treatment in the past year.

“It’s okay to ask for help. It’s okay to seek treatment; because we know that more than half of people with mental illness don’t receive treatment,” said Sheila Lythgoe, Community Prevention Initiatives Coordinator for Blue Ridge Behavioral Healthcare.

Here are some signs from NAMI Virginia to tell if a friend or loved one might be suffering:

For more information about mental health in the U.S., in minority groups, in children and teens, etc., follow this link.

In addition, the Medical Society of Virginia announced the launch of the Virginia Mental Health Access Program on Wednesday, May 19.

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