From the daily archives:

Monday, September 20, 2010

Mental Health Monday, Take #1

September 20, 2010

Well, I promised you I’d be starting a new “section” (for lack of a better term) entitled Mental Health Monday.

What does that mean to you, dear reader?  That I have great passion for this topic.  And I think you should, too.

Yes, I know that last statement could be perceived as being pushy.  But I feel THAT. STRONGLY. ABOUT. IT.  Because mental health issues AFFECT US ALL.

Let me say that again:  MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES AFFECT US ALL!  Yep, you don’t personally have to have a mental illness to be affected by it.  Mull over these statistics:

  • According to the National Institutes of Mental Health:
    • “An estimated 26.2 percent of Americans ages 18 and older — about one in four adults — suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder in a given year. When applied to the 2004 U.S. Census residential population estimate for ages 18 and older, this figure translates to 57.7 million people.”
    • “Even though mental disorders are widespread in the population, the main burden of illness is concentrated in a much smaller proportion — about 6 percent, or 1 in 17 — who suffer from a serious mental illness.”
  • According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics:
    • Major Depressive Disorder accounts for about 6.7 % of the population age 18 and over.
    • Major depressive disorder is the leading cause of disability in the US for ages 15 – 44.

I don’t know about you, but when I start taking those percentages and applying them to, say, a population such as my neighborhood, or a church, or the number of people who fill a football stadium on any given Sunday… well, the mere thought of the impact of that number of people suffering from that kind of sickness, and how that can change the course of society, our economy, and our way of life simply boggles my little mind!

My plan for the coming weeks of “Mental Health Monday” here at is to broaden awareness on how we are affected by mental illness as a society.  Segments I have planned include:

  • Why is mental health such an issue NOW?
  • What causes mental health issues?
  • What kinds of things can we do to deal with mental health issues, whether they affect us, someone we love, or the random person you pass in McDonald’s on Saturday morning.

And just for the record:  I do NOT think that EVERYONE has a mental illness.  But I think we’d be fools if we don’t start acknowledging its presence and educating ourselves.