One in five Americans faces some struggle with their mental health each year, and nearly two thirds will suffer some form of mental illness within their lifetimes. Despite this remarkable prevalence, many societal and internalized stigmas leave many unable or unwilling to reach out for the help they so desperately need.
Much of this stigmatization may be deeply internal. People can feel vulnerable, seeking help, and some may feel as though they’re supposed to manage their mental health alone. These internal and external stigmas may act as a barrier to professional assistance. Thus, preventing individuals from seeking treatment or even just speaking about their situation in the first place.
Pandemic Increases Need Of Mental Health Awareness During Social Distancing
For the last 71 years, Mental Health America and affiliated organizations have remained on a sustained campaign to shatter these stigmas. What originally started as the National Mental Health Awareness Week throughout the ‘40s and ‘50s, turned from a weekly campaign to a monthly one as May became Mental Health Awareness Month in the 1960s.
The campaign focuses on raising awareness and educating the public about various mental illnesses, their notable prevalence, and also the treatment options available to help them. In the age of the current coronavirus crisis and social distancing, the National Alliance on Mental Health has chosen “You Are Not Alone” for this year’s theme.
This theme highlights the prevalence of mental illness and conveys the potential help available. Additionally, conveying the importance of having connections and relationships during these trying times. For those living with addiction, these connections can be all-the-more meaningful. As noted in Johann Hari’s seminal work on addiction “Chasing The Scream,” addiction is often the opposite of connection. Thus, substance abuse is often the result of difficulty connecting with others rather than merely chasing an altered state. As a result, feelings of isolation lead to a direct increase in substance abuse and other mental health disorders.
Medical Professionals Explain Dual Diagnosis Disorders
Addiction is commonly referred to as “substance use disorder” by mental health professionals and comes with a variety of challenges and stigmas in its own right. Compounding these challenges, many living with addiction may also face additional mental illnesses as well. This complicated issue is known as dual diagnosis or co-occurring disorders, where a person has a diagnosis of both a mental illness and substance use disorder simultaneously. Dual Diagnosis Disorders are far more common than people may think. Nearly half of those living with substance use disorder face mental illness at some point throughout their lives.
The compounding of these problems can be plenty for anyone to bear and are often overwhelming. Thankfully for those struggling, there are treatment options available to help. Dual-diagnosis treatment programs utilize an integrated intervention, understanding the way these disorders compound on each other, and treating them in tandem.
Reduce Stigma During Mental Health Month – Reach Out For Help
Mental Health Awareness Month is an opportunity to help raise awareness and also to shatter the stigmas surrounding mental health. You are not alone in managing the struggles of substance use and other mental health disorders. There is help available for you during your time of need. You should never feel alone when facing mental illness and the struggles that come with it. We offer a world-class licensed dual-diagnosis treatment program to help those living with co-occurring disorders better manage their mental health.
Call to speak to one of our experienced, compassionate admissions coordinators, and all that Lighthouse Recovery can offer. Our trusted team of treatment professionals is here for you to help when you need them most.