Mental Illness Facts: Get Educated During Mental Health Awareness Month

Author: Kit Muellner,  LICSW, EAGALA Certified and CEO of H.O.P.E. Ranch

May is Mental Health Awareness Month in the United States and has been observed in this country since 1949. Special attention is given and activities occur during the month. Awareness about mental illness is brought to the public reaching millions of people through the media, local events, and screenings.

The purpose of Mental Health Awareness Month is to educate the public about mental illnesses such as depression, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder. This includes symptoms and possible treatments for these illnesses.

Conversations about the realities of living with mental illness take place and strategies are shared for dealing with it. Additionally, discussions about and exercises for attaining and maintaining mental health and wellness become a part of the month’s activities.

Bringing attention to suicide is also a part of Mental Health Awareness Month as mental illness can contribute to suicide attempts in both adults and youths.

Knowledge is power. The more educated the public is about mental health issues, the better the outcomes. A huge goal of mental health awareness is to reduce the stigma that surrounds mental illnesses.


  • 1 in 5 adults in America experience mental illness.
  • 1 in 25 adults live with a serious mental illness.
  • 50% of chronic mental illness begins by the age of 14.


  • Depression is the #1 cause of disability around the world.
  • Serious mental illness costs $193 billion in lost earnings each year.
  • 90% of those who die from suicide have an underlying mental illness.

The following infographic, courtesy of NAMI, shows the numbers, impact, and consequences of mental illness. Screen Shot 2017-05-02 at 8.28.46 AM


The good news is that there are effective treatments for those suffering from mental illness. If you think you or someone you know needs help, the first step is to pick up the phone and call a mental health professional. They’ll walk you through the rest.


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