Mental Health Awareness Month

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Mental illness sometimes is stigmatized in a way that physical illness is not. Consequently, people may hide their problems and not seek help because they are embarrassed. They may feel isolated and alone and believe no one could understand. Loved ones may believe that the individual suffering from a mental illness is simply being difficult and may be offended by behavior that is caused by the illness. Raising awareness is critical to make it easier to recognize mental illness and to get those who are ill into treatment.

Even though individuals with mental illness often feel alone, one in five people experiences some type of mental illness. One in twenty people experiences serious mental illness. Here are some facts about mental illness from the National Alliance on Mental Illness:

As prevalent as mental illness is, it’s hard to comprehend how so many of those suffering feel alone and try to hide their condition. We should be as aware of mental illness as we are of physical illnesses like cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and stroke. If we have a mental illness, we should feel comfortable talking with our loved ones about our medical condition, and if we have a loved one with a mental illness, we should be just as willing to discuss their disease as we are to discuss Grandma’s heart attack or Dad’s cancer.

To learn more about mental illness and to find help, visit these resources:

O HEAVENLY Father, we beseech thee to have mercy upon all thy children who are living in mental darkness. Restore them to strength of mind and cheerfulness of spirit, and give them health and peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

1928 Book of Common Prayer
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