To the editor:
May has been designated Mental Health Month. It gives those of us who advocate for timely, effective treatment in an appropriate setting an opportunity to speak up for those who suffer from these brain disorders/diseases.
There is much good news such as the public’s attitude toward depression. It is now understood as the illness it is and that treatment most often has a positive outcome. It is quite a different story for people suffering from severe brain disorders/diseases such as bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.
According to a briefing paper found on the Treatment Advocacy Center Web site:
l “1/2 of all individuals with severe mental illness have received no treatment for their illness in the previous 12 months.”
l “…there are estimated to be approximately 4 million people affected by these diseases in the United States.”
l “In terms of numbers, this means that approximately 2 million individuals with schizophrenia and manic-depression (bipolar disorder) are receiving no treatment for their illness at any given time.”
We are told one in four of us have a mental illness, but hope is in the air. Treatment is available and treatment works! A better quality of life awaits those who seek and accept help. If we all work together and advocate for timely, effective treatment in appropriate settings for these brain disorders we call mental illness, it will happen sooner rather than later.