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Mental health: We are not alone

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Although July 1st through 31st is recognized as the Bebe Moore Campbell National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month and aims to improve access to mental health treatment and services for multicultural communities through increased public awareness, everyone can benefit from knowing more about mental health (a state of well-being) and mental illness (those conditions, moods, behaviors, etc., diagnosed by professionals). Equally important is knowing how conditions such as anxiety, bi-polar disorder, depression, mental distress, and schizophrenia impact our lives, communities, and overall economy.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services estimates that approximately 17% of U.S. adults are considered to be in a state of optimal mental health, yet NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) shares an estimate that nearly two-thirds of all people with a diagnosable mental illness do not seek treatment, especially those from diverse communities.

While stigma plays a leading role in the reason mental health continues to be that giant thing in the middle of the room - that thing that keeps so many of us away from honest, productive conversations about mental health and mental illness - the sharing of resources and increase in dialog within our personal circles can help us all achieve a healthier mental state.

If you or someone you know needs mental health support, it’s o.k. to ask for help and contact NAMI St. Louis http://www.namistl.org/ or your local mental health provider.

For more information on the Bebe Moore Campbell National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month: http://minorityhealth.hhs.gov/templates/content.aspx?ID=9447&lvl=3&lvlID=331.

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