May is Mental Health Month

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Mental Health America Sees Average of 1,000 Online Screenings Taken Per Day

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Today Mental Health America (MHA) kicks off its annual observance of May is Mental Health Month and marks the one-year anniversary of the launch of MHA’s online screening tools. In just one year, almost 350,000 screens have been taken for depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)—an average of almost 1,000 screens per day. In the coming month, MHA will launch three additional screens for alcohol and substance use, youth (ages 11-17), and parents who are concerned about their children’s mental health.

For over 65 years, MHA and our affiliates across the country have led the observance of May is Mental Health Month to raise awareness about mental health and mental illness. Addressing mental health before Stage 4—this year’s theme for the month—calls attention to the importance addressing mental health symptoms early, identifying potential underlying diseases, and planning an appropriate course of action on a path towards overall health.

“When we think about cancer, heart disease, or diabetes, we don’t wait years to treat them,” says Paul Gionfriddo, president and CEO of MHA. “We start before Stage 4—we begin with prevention. So why don’t we do the same for individuals who are dealing with potentially serious mental illness? Like other diseases, mental health conditions should be treated long before they reach the most critical points in the disease process—before Stage 4.”

Research shows that not recognizing symptoms of mental health conditions causes people to wait an average of ten years to seek treatment, during which time symptoms often worsen. Intervening effectively during early stages of mental illness can save lives and change the trajectories of people living with mental illnesses. MHA launched last May its online screening tools at http://www.mhascreening.org and the results are staggering:

  •     Almost 350,000 individuals have taken screens for depression, anxiety, bipolar and PTSD
  •     75 percent of the screeners are women
  •     71 percent are between the ages of 18-34
  •     67 percent of screeners have never been diagnosed before
  •     71 percent of those who took the anxiety screen tested moderate to severe
  •     58 percent of those who took the depression screen tested moderate/severe or severe

MHA has developed a downloadable toolkit that includes fact sheets, adaptable media materials, sample social media posts and infographics. Additionally, MHA launched a new video explaining why it is so critically important to address mental health concerns before Stage 4. For more information on May is Mental Health Month, visit MHA’s website at http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/may.

“Prevention, early identification and intervention, and integrated services work,” concluded Gionfriddo. “When you address symptoms before Stage 4, people can often recover quickly, and live full and productive lives.”

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Mental Health America is the nation’s leading community-based non-profit dedicated to helping all Americans achieve wellness by living mentally healthier lives. Our work is driven by our commitment to promote mental health as a critical part of overall wellness, including prevention services for all, early identification and intervention for those at risk, integrated care and treatment for those who need it, with recovery as the goal. The 2015 May is Mental Health Month campaign has been supported with contributions from AstraZeneca and Lilly.

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Alex Goss
@OnPtComms
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