Wednesday, July 13, 2011


Every month should be used for raising awareness of those who are mentally-challenged such as myself. While I have been in remission from serious mental health problems for some time, I have the ability to empathize with those for whom the challenge goes on. It is no laughing matter.

Did you realize that, on an annual basis, over one-quarter of the population suffers from some form of mental health challenge? Highest on the list are those who suffer from clinical depression. This is a serious condition, lasting more than two weeks and up to months. It affects a person's ability to function on a daily basis. Women are more susceptible than men. It is a condition that can affect any age group, but is less prevalent among those over sixty.

Nearly six percent of the population suffers from a debilitating form of mental illness that prevents them from living a normal life. People with mood disorders such as a bipolar disorder involve about four percent of the population. The most serious form of mental illness – schizophrenia – affects approximately one percent of the population.

A host of other disorders makes up for the rest. These include anxiety disorders such as phobias, obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorders, and post-traumatic stress. Other problems include attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, eating disorders, autism, and personality disorders.

Slightly under half of those who are mentally ill do not accept or receive adequate treatment. This leads them to suffer lives whereby they are deprived of realizing their potentials. Many of those who resist treatment end up on our streets as part of the homeless population. What a sad life for them!

Not only does the illness affect those who are afflicted, but it affects the family and friends of the mentally-ill as well. This has far-reaching implications on those who are affected, directly and indirectly. Mental illness affects a large percentage of our population.

What makes matters worse has been that health insurance companies have not treated mental illness like other physical illnesses. They have placed limitations on their coverage. This has led those affected to lose coverage for things like psychotherapy which provides a measure of relief. It's time that we wake up to the fact that an illness that affects the brain is as much of a physical illness as any other illness.

Awareness of the problem is the first step. Any of you can help to raise the consciousness of the larger whole. Like everything in life, compassion is the key. No man is an island. It is up to each of us to support our brothers and sisters. Without that support, people become isolated and disenfranchised. Nobody truly wants or needs to do it alone. Step up to the plate and be a friend to those in need.

Author Davis Aujourd'hui

Some helpful places if you find you need some help, need how to handle a situation or even just someone to talk to:

Never give up! There is help out there!

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