May is Mental Health Month

By Don Laird, MS, NCC, LPC

I have been diagnosed with diabetes.

I have been diagnosed with heart disease.

I have been diagnosed with schizophrenia.

Don Laird, MS, NCC, LPCOut of these three statements, which individual has the better chance at quality of life for the next 10 years based on today’s current methods of treatment and availability of medical care? If you picked the third one, you would be wrong.

Why does mental health always seem to end up at the bottom of our ongoing health care debate? Costs are a big barrier to treatments, but so are attitudes. A 2007 study in Psychiatric Services, a Journal of the American Psychiatric Association, looked at several hundred potential mental health clients who had thought about seeking services but decided against it.

When questioned 66-percent of those surveyed thought the problem would get better on its own. Seventy-one percent agreed with the statement “I wanted to solve the problem on my own.” Several other studies have shown that many Americans still view depression and anxiety as a sign of weakness, and that seeking treatment demonstrates a lack of character or strength. Mental health doesn’t get the attention it deserves because of the stigma, but nearly one-out-of-every-five Americans will have a diagnosable mental disorder within their lifetimes, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.

Since its inception in 1949, Mental Health Month has been celebrated in May and for 55 years this campaign has provided an opportunity to raise awareness about mental health issues. Americans recognize Mental Health Month with events and activities in communities across the country. Many organizations, such as NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness), engage in ongoing efforts to promote Mental Health Month through increasing public awareness and advocacy.

Compassion Matters!At Pittsburgh Psychotherapy Associates we recognize and celebrate the goals and spirit of Mental Health Month by launching our month-long campaign “Compassion Matters.” Our goals are to build public recognition about the importance of good mental health and to provide daily tips and tools for taking positive actions to promote holistic health. We understand that there is more to good mental health than just taking a pill. Accepting the whole person, not just their diagnosis, is paramount to providing quality care. Please follow our Facebook page for daily inspirational quotes, articles written by our staff of professionals, and tips for creating the change you want to see in your life.

For additional information about NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Health) click here.

In Good Health,
Don