One in every five adults in the U.S. must deal with a mental illness condition during their lifetime, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.
"That single fact alone should be sufficient enough to make us all recognize that mental illness is a concern that literally affects everyone," said Nathan Miller, director of Lebanon's Cumberland Mental Health Services, an agency of Volunteer Behavioral Health Care System, a nonprofit organization that provides mental health services in 31 counties in Middle and Southeast Tennessee and the Upper Cumberland Region.
"Those suffering from issues associated with mental illness can be found in the workplace, among personal friendships, with immediate and distant family members and virtually in all circles of life where we are in contact with others."
For more than 65 years, the month of May has been annually recognized as Mental Health Awareness Month in an effort to help make the public better aware of the many issues associated with mental illness by the professionals and those on the front line of defense including national and local organizations such as VBHCS and its affiliate centers.
According to Miller, mental illness is a term that may be applied to a broad and diverse listing of concerns including depression, bi-polar disorders, behavioral issues, suicide, addiction and many more. Miller also notes that it is important to understand that mental illness can occur on a broad spectrum ranging from a mild temporary interruption of our life due to an event such as a death to those who suffer from a severe and persistent mental illness.
Matters related to mental illness for which Tennesseans should be aware include the fact that depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide; that suicide is the second leading cause of death for youth between the ages of 14 and 24; that addiction and substance abuse are considered mental health issues; that 50 percent of all lifetime mental illness cases begin at age 14; and that 60 percent of adults and 50 percent of youth (ages 8-15) who suffer with mental illness did not receive treatment during the past year.
While much attention continues to be focused on suicide prevention in Tennessee, suicide as recently as 2014 was the second leading cause of death in the Volunteer state for persons 25 to 34 years old and the third leading cause of death for those 15 to 24 years old.
Miller said it is important to recognize and understand that mental illness issues can be treated and that help is as near as a local mental health center.
For more information about services and treatments available for those who are dealing with mental health issues including addiction and substance abuse visit www.vbhcs.org or call toll free 1-877-567-6051.