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Less Than One-Third of Adults with Mental Illness Will Get Help in 2009

Mental Illness Awareness Week raises awareness about the availability of treatment for mental disorders; individuals face unemployment, homelessness and despair when they go untreated   


September 24, 2009

Belleville, Ill. – One in four Americans over the age of 18 experience a mental health disorder in any given year, but a significant number go untreated, according to the
National Alliance on Mental Illness, which is observing Mental Illness Awareness Week (MIAW), Oct. 4-10, 2009. Organizations, including Allsup, a nationwide provider of Social Security disability representation and Medicare services, are working to highlight the availability of support to individuals and their families.

Mental illness includes major depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and anxiety disorders. About 6 percent, or one in 17 Americans, live with the most serious disorders such as schizophrenia. Less than a third of adults and less than half of children with a diagnosed illness receive treatment in any given year. Half of all lifetime cases of mental illness begin by age 14, according to NAMI.

"We know that with early detection, appropriate treatment and support from family and friends, people with mental illness can lead healthy, rewarding lives," said Michael Fitzpatrick, NAMI executive director.

NAMI provides a number of resources and support including:

  • Find Your Local NAMI: Locate a support group in your area with this online directory.
  • Medications: Find details on specific medications, dosages and treatment information.
  • Information HelpLine: Reach a volunteer with your questions on information, referrals and support by calling (800) 950-6264, Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern time.

Mental illness can affect anyone at any time. Treatment works, but only when those who are affected seek help. The entire community benefits when it recognizes the importance of mental health to everyone’s well-being and overall health.

Allsup is observing Mental Illness Awareness Week with free posters available to hospitals, clinics and other community groups by calling Karen Hercules-Doerr at (800) 854-1418, ext. 5770.

 


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