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May 20th is Mental Health Action Day. Millions of people struggle with at least one mental illness. With the COVID-19 pandemic, many people have developed new mental health conditions, while other folks have seen pre-existing issues exacerbated. Though discussions around mental health are more prevalent in society, there's still a pervasive stigma surrounding the topic.

To end the stigma, this topic needs to be talked about more. Below are recent mental health statistics, as well as eight organizations you can support today.

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According to the statistics in 2019 from the National Institute of Mental Health:

  • 15.1 million adults from 18-25 in the United States suffer from a form of mental illness
  • Mental illness is higher in females (24.5%) than males (16.3%)
  • Adults from the ages 18-25 had the highest number of mental illness (29.4%) than adults aged 26-59 (25%) and adults 50 or older (14.1%)
  • Adults who are of mixed races have higher cases of mental illness (31.7%) followed by White adults (22.2%). Asian adults reported the lowest cases of mental illness (14.4%)

According to 2018 statistics from the National Institute of Mental Health:

  • Suicide was the tenth leading cause of death overall in the United States, claiming the lives of over 48,000 people.
  • Suicide was the second leading cause of death among individuals between the ages of 10 and 34, and the fourth leading cause of death among individuals between the ages of 35 and 54.
  • There were more than two and a half times as many suicides (48,344) in the United States as there were homicides (18,830)

According to the World Health Organization:

  • 264 million people are affected by depression
  • 45 million people are affected by bipolar disorder
  • 20 million people are affected by schizophrenia
  • 50 million people have dementia

Important reminders if you're struggling:

  • Breathe
  • Talk to a close friend or someone you know about how you’re feeling
  • Seek professional help, such as therapy
  • Surround yourself with people who love you or make you feel seen
  • Join a support group or online community
  • Take a break from the news and social media
  • Do more activities that bring you joy and peace 
  • Remind yourself that you’re not alone—you are loved and cherished. It does get better.

Mental health organizations to know and donate to:

1. Mental Health America is dedicated to helping people with mental illness. They have raised over 1 million dollars for mental health services and have helped over 31 million people. They provide education on mental health conditions and have reduced barriers to treatment and services.

2. National Alliance on Mental Health is one of the largest mental health organizations dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness. This organization started in 1979 by a small group of families around a kitchen table. Their goal is to raise awareness, provide support, and educate people on mental health.

3. American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Established in 1987, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is a nonprofit organization that helps people affected by suicide by savings lives and giving hope. Their members research, educate, and advocate against suicide. AFSP creates a culture that funds research, provides education on and advocacy for mental health awareness and suicide prevention, and supports survivors and those affected by suicide.

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4. Hope for the Day is a non-profit movement empowering the conversation on proactive suicide prevention and mental health education. Their goal is to globally de-stigmatize mental health and create an ongoing conversation. They are breaking the silence about suicide by educating communities.

5. Strong Minds. This organization was founded in 2013 and provides mental health services to women and adolescents in low-income communities in sub-Saharan Africa. It offers group talk therapy with community health workers. Strong Minds is one of the only organizations working to help individuals with depression in sub-Saharan Africa.

6. The World Federation of Mental Health. The World Federation of Mental Health focuses on all aspects of mental health. Founded in 1948, this organization focuses on the prevention of mental and emotional disorders and properly treating them. In addition, they take care of those suffering from mental illness and promote mental health.

7. Mental Health and Recovery. This organization’s goal is to promote mental health awareness, empower the individual, and increase treatment and services to those suffering from mental illness. They work with people by offering mental health resources, special education and community support through direct service, public policy, and education and outreach. Their mission is to improve the lives of those suffering from mental illness.

8. The Youth Mental Health Program’s main goal is to educate folks about mental illness affecting young people. Their mission is to empower, educate, and support families and communities to understand the importance of mental health for young populations. They strive for a world that treats mental health as equally as physical health and makes mental health services more accessible. 

If you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Lifeline at 800-273-8255, or The Trevor Project's Lifeline at 866-488-7386.

Photo by Timothy L Brock on Unsplash

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