By SCOTT KNIGHT
The Jason Foundation
The beginning of a new year is a fresh start and a chance to make the most of the opportunities that come our way. January is Mental Wellness Month and has been designated to recognize the importance of attending to our mental health and the mental health of our friends and loved ones. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, 1 in 5 adults experience mental illness each year, and one in twenty experience serious mental illness each year. Mental health disorders also affect our nation’s youth, as 1 in 6 aged 6-17 experience these each year. Fifty percent of all lifetime mental illness begins by age 14, and 75% by age 24. NAMI also lists suicide as the second leading cause of death among people aged 10-34.
In the United States, 90% of people who die by suicide may have experienced symptoms of a mental health condition, according to interviews with family, friends and medical professionals. One of the major problems with mental illness is that less than half of people with a mental health condition receive treatment. As stated earlier, many mental health disorders can begin at an early age.
Two of the most common mental health disorders in young people are depression and anxiety disorders. Not everyone who is depressed is suicidal, but depression is the leading condition associated with suicide and many times is left undiagnosed and untreated. It is important to know the warning signs of suicide because 4 out of 5 individuals considering suicide give some sign of their intentions either verbally or behaviorally, according to the CDC.
If you suspect someone is experiencing a mental health crisis or is contemplating suicide, consider reaching out to them with empathy and understanding. Call or text the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline at 988. Dial 911 if it is an actual emergency.
The Jason Foundation is another available resource. It is dedicated to the awareness and prevention of suicide through educational programs and provides tools and resources to identify and assist those who are at-risk. For more information on helping your friends and loved ones who are suffering with a mental illness, visit http://www.jasonfoundation.com.
Scott Knight is the education specialist at The Jason Foundation. He can be reached through http://www.jasonfoundation.com.