October 2nd-8th marks Mental Illness Awareness Week in the United States. During the first week of October, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) raises awareness of mental illness. Each year, NAMI and participants all across the nation fight stigma, educate the public, and advocate for equal care. Although mental health issues are important to address year-round, Mental Illness Awareness Week provides an opportunity for people to unite together and display the strength of those working to improve the lives of the many people affected by mental illness. NAMI believes that raising awareness of mental health conditions can “break down obstacles and improve the chance of recovery.” Millions of American’s lives are impacted each and every day by mental illness. Mental Illness Awareness Week provides a unique opportunity to spread awareness and fight the stigma of mental illness.
Mental Illness in the United States
According to NAMI, approximately 1 in 5 adults in the United States — 43.8 million, or 18.5% — experiences mental illness in a given year. And roughly 1 in 25 adults in the United States — 10 million, or 4.2% — experiences a serious mental illness each year that substantially interferes with or limits one or more major life activities. Youth in America also struggle with mental illness: approximately 1 in 5 youth aged 13-18, or 21.4%, experiences a severe mental disorder at some point during their life.
People with mental health disorders are more likely than people without mental health disorders to experience an alcohol or substance use disorder. Among the 20.2 million adults in the United States who struggle with a substance use disorder, 50.5% — 10.2 million adults — had a co-occurring mental illness.
Depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide, and is a major contributor to the global burden of disease. The disease burden of mental illness is among the highest of all diseases. Serious mental illness costs the United States $193.2 billion in lost earnings per year.
Recovery from Mental Illness
Recovery is a term we hear a lot, but what exactly does it mean? What does recovery from a mental illness look like? The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has developed a working definition of recovery: “A process of change through which individuals improve their health and wellness, live a self-directed life, and strive to reach their full potential.” They also have come up with four major dimensions that support living a life in recovery:
- Health: Managing one’s disease(s) and symptoms
- Home: A safe and stable place to live
- Purpose: Meaningful daily activities
- Community: Relationships and social networks
The definition provided by SAMHSA provides a framework for what recovery is and looks like. SAMHSA also developed multiple guidelines of recovery, which state that: recovery emerges from hope, is person-driven, occurs via many pathways, is holistic, is supported by peers and allies, is supported through relationship and social networks, is culturally-based and influenced, is supported by addressing trauma, involves individual, family, and community strengths and responsibility, and is based on respect. The definition, dimensions, and guidelines of recovery provided by SAMHSA help provide an idea of what a life in recovery from mental illness looks like.
Let Transformations Guide You Into Recovery
If you or a loved one is struggling with substance abuse and mental illness, know that help is available and recovery is possible. Transformations Treatment Center is dedicated to helping struggling individuals find peace and hope in recovery. Call our 24-hour confidential helpline today to start your new life in recovery: