Almost two years ago I wrote about the prevalence of childhood abuse and told you that you know victims of childhood sexual abuse. I told you plainly then, that given the statistics, there’s almost a 100% chance that someone you know, someone you work with, someone you go to school with or someone in your family was a victim of sexual abuse.
Today, in connection with World Mental Health Day I want to tell you that, no matter what you may think, yes you know someone who is dealing with a mental health issue. In fact, there’s a very good chance that not only do you know someone who’s been treated for depression or some other mental health issue during their lifetime, but there’s a very good chance you know someone with a diagnosable mental disorder right now. According to the NIMH statistics, about 25% of the adult population is diagnosable for a mental health disorder in a given year. Almost 50% will be diagnosable during their lifetime.
So yes, someone you know, right now, is dealing with depression, considering suicide, struggling with bipolar disorder, an eating disorder, or is being medicated for ADHD, among other issues they may have. Given that basic fact, maybe it’s time you stopped with the jokes about being “off their meds”, or freaking out at the site of a medication bottle, or making excuses to stay away from people you know who are in therapy. It’s common. It’s a necessary part of life in 2013.
Despite these numbers, those people who fall in the 25% of the population are left isolated, alone, unable to communicate about what they are going through. Tragically, this means that many of them never get the help they need, for fear of being the odd one out, the nut case. While we are making strides to accept various minority groups, maybe we could spare a few thoughts for one of the largest groups out there, huh?
Stop right now, and think of the last 4 people you talked to during your day today. Chances are, one of them is dealing with a mental health issue, and at least one other is dealing with someone in their family with a mental health issue. These aren’t the rare freaks that you never have to deal with, they are around you all the time, and they deserve your support, not your scorn.