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Or in a crisis, text "NAMI" to 741741
For many Americans who live with a mood disorder, cost remains a major hurdle to accessing mental health care, according to a survey on mood disorders published this week by NAMI. Over half of the survey's respondents (which included people living with mood disorders and their caregivers) said that cost prevents them from trying a treatment they're interested in, says psychiatrist Ken Duckworth, NAMI's CMO. Cost was also the reason for discontinuing treatment for about a quarter of the respondents who were able to get care. The survey also revealed that many people don't even know how to find mental health support. "Forty-eight percent are unsure if they're eligible to receive care, and nearly as many are unsure about how to access services," Duckworth says.
The Taliban's takeover of Afghanistan is particularly disheartening to Americans who fought there. Across 20 years of combat, almost 800,000 troops deployed to the war zone — many of them more than once. Images of the American withdrawal and questions about the war's legacy now aggravate long-held frustrations that have been contributing to veterans' already high suicide rate. The National Alliance on Mental Illness provides advice and guidance for veterans facing anger, traumatic brain injury or PTSD.
In this podcast episode, Peter Panageas shares a panel discussion of leading voices on how to create a workplace culture of well-being to help support employee behavioral health. Ken Duckworth, CMO of NAMI, is included in the panel discussion.
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, one in five American adults has experienced a mental illness. As awareness about mental illness grows, many workplaces have been making efforts to normalize talking about mental health. But other workplaces have stayed silent on this topic, so employees are left to figure out their options on their own. And even in workplaces that encourage employees to be open, other coworkers or managers might show bias against those who do disclose a diagnosis. The article discusses personal experiences regarding talking about mental health at work. As resources, it links to the NAMI Homepage and includes the HelpLine 1-888-950-6264.
Advocates are citing growing mental health concerns during the pandemic and the implementation of a bipartisan 2020 law designated the three-digit phone number 9-8-8 as the new number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, a 24/7 crisis hotline that will connect callers with immediate counseling or referrals for local mental health services. The new number is set to take effect on July 16, 2022, but advocates want to build crisis care infrastructure and add resources before then. More than two dozen organizations asked Congress in May for a larger long-term funding increase. “Significant investments are needed to develop an infrastructure to successfully stand up an effective 988 crisis response system, especially given the upcoming July 2022 timeline,” the groups, including the National Alliance on Mental Illness, wrote in a letter requesting $10 billion in an infrastructure package.
Americans living in big cities have relatively low rates of depression, despite the hustle and bustle — or maybe because of it, a new study suggests. Researchers found that compared with smaller U.S. cities, big urban hubs generally had lower rates of depression among residents. And they think the pattern can be explained, in part, by the wide range of social interactions that busy cities provide. "Social connections do serve as an antidepressant,” said Ken Duckworth, CMO of NAMI. To Duckworth, the new study brings up "important questions" about whether a greater number of social interactions — of all kinds — affect people's depression risk. But he also said that a good relationship with family and friends likely makes the biggest difference. Duckworth said he would be interested to see whether the pandemic altered the pattern seen in this study. Includes a links to NAMI resources for dealing with depression.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness says whenever a tragic act of gun violence occurs, people with mental illness are often unfairly drawn into the conversation. "When we think about gun violence, what we know is that extreme anger, hatred and violence can motivate people to hurt or kill others. But we should never confuse strong emotions and beliefs with mental illness," Angela Kimball, national director of advocacy and public policy for NAMI, told ABC News. Because politicians, police and the public put so much attention on mental health in the wake of gun violence, Kimball said those who have been diagnosed with things like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder face discrimination and marginalization. She said the world will often confuse those conditions with things like psychosis, which has many causes, including paranoia, Alzheimer's disease, drug use, trauma or sleep deprivation. According to Kimball, people with mental health conditions are 23 times more likely to be the victims of violence than the general public. "Blaming mental illness or mental health conditions for gun violence is really a distraction from the real issues at hand which are evidence-based risk factors and the fact that in our country, it’s easier to get a gun than to get mental health care," Kimball said.
More than 47 million American adults are experiencing a mental illness, and yet 57% of adults with a mental illness are receiving no treatment. The fundamental issue, according to experts, is that mental health care has historically been treated differently than physical health care. Jennifer Snow, director of public policy at NAMI, also noted that there is "a severe shortage of mental health professionals across the country." "Psychiatrists are not the only mental health professionals — there’s a robust continuum of professionals — but can you imagine if 60% of counties in the U.S. didn’t have access to cancer care?" Snow said. "I feel like people would be rioting in the streets." "Certainly with younger generations, more people are comfortable talking about their mental health care, but there are people who still look at it as something they should be able to get over and don’t look at it as a real health condition," Snow said. "We know that the brain is, in many ways, the most important part of your entire body."
According to the WHO, depression affects more than 264 million people around the globe. NAMI Connection was named best for virtual meetups in your neighborhood by Healthline. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) is a prominent grassroots organization working to build better lives for people experiencing mental health conditions. With more than 40 years of service, the organization has expanded to 600 local affiliates and 48 state organizations. NAMI’s storied history makes the organization a reputable resource, and those experiencing depression may find a helping hand in the NAMI Connection Recovery Support Group. The peer-led groups happen both in-person and online in cities around the country. Members who are 18 and over gather on a weekly or bi-weekly basis to encourage empathy and empowerment while sharing their own stories. Some chapters meet locally, but you’ll be surprised by just how many NAMI groups have embraced virtual meetups on Zoom. You can browse NAMI’s directory to find a future meeting.
Jerri Clark answered her phone to hear her son on the line. He had missed the window to check into a young adult shelter and was calling, to tell her, “Goodnight.” Jerri was distraught. That was 2017 and Calvin Clark had been homeless for a few weeks, the result of more than two years of obstacles since his bipolar disorder diagnosis. As his condition was growing more and more severe, Jerri was losing faith that Washington’s mental health system would be able to save him. Jerri and Calvin’s father had tried to keep their son housed and supported since his diagnosis at 19. But he didn’t want to live with his parents, he didn’t think he needed help, and he often didn’t take the medications medical providers prescribed. “The irony is it’s the very nature of the condition that people tend to think that there’s nothing wrong with them or that there’s something wrong with everybody else,” said Angela Kimball, National Director of Advocacy and Public Policy for NAMI. It’s known as “anosognosia,” and it’s one of the most common reasons why people with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder stop taking their medications. “It wasn’t the illness that killed him,” Jerri said. “It was the system’s lack of appropriate response that killed him. He died of a treatable illness.”
Call the NAMI Helpline at
text "NAMI" to 741741