Talk openly about mental health for everyone's benefit / iStock

Destigmatize mental health to treat illness and prevent suicide

Public Health May 18, 2022

Issue 18 • Week of May 15, 2022

May is Mental Health Awareness Month.

We urge anyone in the US who needs immediate help to dial 1-800-273-8255 or text TALK to 741741 to connect with trained crisis counselors for free, 24/7.

This lifeline will soon be even easier to reach simply by calling or texting 988 nationwide starting July 16, as easy to remember as dialing 911. The initiative desperately needs employees and volunteers in every state so please apply or encourage others who are sympathetic. If you or someone you care about requires international help, click here.

The US has the third highest rate of mental illness globally while most people lack both sufficient financial support and professionals nearby to treat them. We should talk more openly about some of the root causes in our culture. Until then, someone you know already has a mental illness who is not getting the help they need and that should concern everyone. Conditions ranging from anxiety and depression to OCD and PTSD directly affect 1 in 5 Americans and cause a number of ripple effects.

It is up to us to be there for our friends and family as we too could have some bad luck and find ourselves in a similar situation due to the wide variety of causes or triggers -- especially since half of those suffering reported that the pandemic worsened their mental state and our society is still grappling with the psychological effects of social media, both positive and negative. We also owe it to the 8+ million mental health caregivers to provide adequate space and self-care support.

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