Editorial: Mental Illness is Too Often Overlooked

Alina Zang, Layout

Depression. Anxiety. Schizophrenia. Those are just a few of the many mental illnesses out there. Millions of people deal with disorders like these everyday, having to suffer through symptoms such as  a severe lack of motivation, difficulty differentiating fiction from reality, a feeling of constant stress, and more. Many people who struggle with these challenges go through daily life untreated. 

Mental illness is a serious and prevalent issue that is being overlooked.

According to the National Association on Mental Illness (NAMI), around 1 in 5 U.S. adults experience some kind of mental illness each year, and about 1 in 6 U.S. youth aged 6-17 suffer from a mental health disorder. These statistics add up to about 35.6% of the population. Although this percentage may seem insignificant, the actual numbers paint a different story. About 55.3 million people in the United States deal with a mental illness. But how does this affect the general population?

Mental health has always been a big contributor to a community’s success. The higher percent of mentally healthy citizens, the more positive and productive a community is. America’s current percentage is not too bad; however, research from Mental Health America (MHA) shows that Americans could be working a lot harder to decrease the percentage of mentally ill persons.

According to MHA, 70% of youth with major depression have an unmet need for treatment, as well as  over 10 million adults. What this means is that millions of people are handling difficult burdens alone, without the therapy or medication they need. Those who go untreated not only have to carry their worries in silence, they also have a higher risk of their life taking a turn for the worse. The Treatment Advocacy Center says that mentally ill persons have a high risk of homelessness, arrest, incarceration, victimization, suicide, and other unfortunate situations.

What can society do to fix this problem? Well, the first step is to educate others about this problem, and to let people know that there is no shame in seeking help. Luckily, people have already started doing this. According to an article from American Psychiatric Nurses Association (APNA), “Ongoing consumer education efforts and celebrity disclosures are beginning to decrease the stigma related to seeking treatment.” This is especially important to stress to younger audiences, because getting help at an early age will make the trip to healing quicker.

The next step is dealing with the nation’s shortage of mental health professionals, which APNA reports is a current issue. To meet the increasing demand for treatment towards mental health, the country needs to employ and train more professionals in that area of study. 

Help the cry for mental illness awareness be heard by donating today. There are a plethora of organizations out there to donate to, such as NAMI and TWLOHA. Help support those who need treatment today.