We get the flu and we may stay home a few days from work. We get a bad infection and we go to the doctor to treat it. But what happens when our brains get sick?

Here are a few facts to show the impact of mental illness in the United States.

  1. 43.8 million Adults experience mental illness in a given year.
  2. 1 in 5 adults in the US has a mental health condition.
  3. One-half of all chronic mental illness begins by the age of 14; three-quarters by the age of 24.
  4. Depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide, and is a major contributor to the global burden of disease.
  5. 90% of those who die by suicide have an underlying mental illness.

Stigma is defined as viewing someone in a negative way because they have a mental health condition. Stigma may even be internal by confusing feeling bad with being bad. Stigmas can cause isolation, blame and secrecy that makes it harder for people to reach out when they need help.

Fifteen years ago, a U.S. Surgeon General’s Report on Mental Health—the first and only one to date—identified stigma as a public health concern that leads people to “avoid living, socializing or working with, renting to, or employing" individuals with mental illness.

While we all have a lot to learn about mental illnesses, we all have time to learn from others. Remember that our mind can get sick just like our body can. Many mental illnesses are treatable, yet many go untreated due to the stigma of mental health conditions. If you think you are struggling with your mental health there are many resources for you.

Start by visiting your primary care doctor to rule out any other health conditions. Getting help early is very important for treating a mental illness. Be honest and clear about how you are feeling. Ask to be referred to a mental health specialist or therapist that will fit with you. Remember, they are called specialists for a reason—they specialize in mental health, and will create an environment where you can be open and on the path to treatment.

If you need help in a crisis call the NAMI helpline 800-950-nami info@nami.org M-F, 10 am - 6 pm ET or text "NAMI" to 741741.

Our Quality Health Coaches are just a call away and are able to connect you with counselors if needed.

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