Mental Health Awareness Month - Mental Illness & Homeless - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Mental Health Awareness Month - Mental Illness & Homeless

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

Did you know that May is Mental Health Awareness Month? It may surprise you to learn that an average of one of every four people will experience a mental health disorder each year. In fact, the World Health Organization reports that mental illness is the fourth leading cause of disability worldwide. Most people will struggle with mental illness at some point in their lifetime, either personally or through a close family member or friend. Unfortunately, despite the amount of people struggling with mental health related issues, the concept of mental illness is constantly stigmatized, avoided, and disregarded. As a result, those struggling with mental illness do not always receive the resources, support, and advocacy they need and deserve.

A mental illness is a medical condition that disrupts a person's thinking, feeling, mood, ability to relate to others and daily functioning. Just as diabetes is a disorder of the pancreas, mental illnesses are medical conditions that often result in a diminished capacity for coping with the ordinary demands of life. 1 in 4 people suffer from a type of mental illness in our country that's over 60 million people. 1 in 17, about13.6 million-live with a serious mental illness such as schizophrenia, major depression or bipolar disorder. Individuals living with serious mental illness face an increased risk of having chronic medical conditions. Adults living with serious mental illness die on average 25 years earlier than other Americans, largely due to treatable medical conditions.

Serious mental illnesses include major depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), panic disorder, post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and borderline personality disorder. The good news about mental illness is that recovery is possible. Mental illnesses can affect persons of any age, race, religion or income. Mental illnesses are treatable, and NAMI Hawaii is here to support that.

Together we can change these statistics and end the stigma by simply discussing these issues and educating the public on how to see signs and where they can get help.

Building awareness helps NAMI Hawaii to provide support and education for our community at large at no cost. NAMI Hawaii holds support groups for those with severe mental illness and their families teach classes to educate family members, police, and social workers about mental illness, and empower those with severe mental illness to educate the community.

This year NAMI is planning on bringing their signature program “NAMI on Campus” to the colleges on Oahu. Join NAMI Hawaii at their annual fall walk on October 3. This walk helps them to continue to offer free support groups, classes, programs, and services throughout the islands. Their goal is to build public awareness and get more community leaders on board to help “stomp out” the stigma of mental illness.

To find out more information about NAMI Hawaii and the walk, click here.

Copyright 2015. Hawaii News Now. All Rights Reserved.

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