World Mental Health Awareness at OneMama
“We must bring the issue of mental illness out into the sunlight, out of the shadow, out of the closet, deal with it, treat people, have centers where people can get the necessary help.” – John Lewis
Please note that this post was originally to be posted at the start of May, Mental Health Month, but due to unforeseen circumstances, we are now posting it in honor of World Mental Health Day, October 17th.
The topic of mental illness is one close to OneMama.org founder and CEO, Siobhan Neilland’s heart, “A OneMama family member close to me has a mental illness and has struggled with depression and Bipolar Disorder their whole life. It’s been a life-long battle and the results have been hard – from communicating her feelings to those close to her, harming herself, and putting herself in dangerous situations. All scenarios that have greatly impacted me and the people around her. When I think of mental illness I have such a strong emotional response to it.”
Since 1949, May has been designated as Mental Health Month through Mental Health America. The goal of Mental Health Month is to “reach millions of people through the media, local events and screenings.” According to NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Health) 1 in 5 Americans experiences mental illness in a given year. 1 and 25 Americans live with serious mental illnesses. Nearly 60% of adults with mental illness did not receive treatment in the previous year.
World Mental Health Day is another time in the year to raise awareness. This is a global day to recognize and bring to discussion mental health education, awareness, and advocacy against social stigma. This day of recognition first started in 1992 at the World Federation for Mental Health initiative. This year’s topic is suicide prevention. According to WHO (World Health Organization), “Every 40 seconds, someone loses their life to suicide.”
Raising awareness is key to understanding mental health issues, and OneMama team is amongst those world organizations trying to help.
Siobhan and I had an in depth conversation about how mental health greatly affects our OneMama family members and donors – whether that be because they are struggling with it personally or they are connected to someone who has a mental illness. In discussing with OneMama members here are some candid thoughts that came up.
Where do you find yourself in this conversation?
“Her behavior at times was selfish. Everything became all about her and not the people around her. Everyone had to spend a lot of time and energy to help keep her from harming herself.” – OneMama donor who has a family member with mental illness
“At times it feels like a trap for all those involved. The person living with the illness and those that love and care for the person.”
“I constantly question myself. Am I patient enough? Do I have the ability to help and support? Am I helpful.”
“As my family member has aged her symptoms have lessened, which I have learned is pretty normal. Our interactions have shifted and this has taken a lot of time to adjust to.” – Family member of someone living with schizophrenia
“There are so many confusing things around mental health. I desire nothing more than to be mentally healthy.” – OneMama member living with mental illness
“Living with someone with bipolar disorder has come with many challenges. I was even learning bipolar behavior… this was confusing.” – Family member of someone with bipolar disorder
If you or someone you know are struggling with mental illness, or even if you just want to understand more about the illness, please contact Mental Health America.
Learn how you can help notice the signs and help someone with mental health issues:
Please join OneMama to encourage the understanding of the scale of the mental health issues around the globe and how each of us can play an important role to help prevent it.
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