Steinberg Institute
Maggie Merritt

Mental Health Awareness month has arrived

Posted on Wednesday, May 1, 2019

The rainy season has passed, California is blooming, and National Mental Health Awareness Month is here!

It’s another chance collectively to let people struggling with mental illness know they are not alone, to fight stigma, and to educate the public about brain health disorders and available treatments.

Let’s continue to bring brain health out of the shadows, to set aside fear and misunderstanding, and to keep pushing to make mental well-being a part of everyday conversation, whether at home, in social circles, or in the workplace.

That’s one reason why the Steinberg Institute will be proudly out in force this coming Saturday morning for the National Alliance on Mental Illness’ annual walkathon in William Land Park in Sacramento. For more details on the NAMIWalks Northern California event, or to sponsor the Steinberg Institute, go here: http://bit.ly/2XQ5Oym.

Too often, people still suffer needlessly with mental disorders, perhaps because they are afraid of what other people will think of them, or they don’t realize that they can get help. Federal estimates are that one in five people will experience mental illness, which can range from anxiety to depression to schizophrenia and more, but only a third will access treatment.

Yet advances in medicine and other therapeutic approaches mean that people living with mental illness frequently are able to recover, especially when symptoms are recognized quickly and treatment comes early. Millions of Californians today lead happy and fulfilling lives who in the past might have suffered terribly, and for that we are truly grateful.

Knowing what is possible, it is clear that society must work to ensure that all people with mental disorders are afforded the best services possible, regardless of race, ethnicity, or whether they have private insurance. Such people should have the chance to be well and to participate in life just like others who don’t face similar challenges. It is one of the great civil rights issues of our time.

With that context in mind, the Steinberg Institute throughout May will again be publishing on our website short biographical sketches of people we call “Champions.” Please be on the lookout for them. These are heroes of ours who have been fighting, sometimes for decades, to get proper treatment and support for people living with mental illness and their families. You can see previous profiles we have posted here https://steinberginstitute.org/champions/.

Our Champions epitomize compassion, caring, and courageousness, and they set the bar higher for us at the Steinberg Institute as we seek to advance sound public policy and inspire leadership on issues of brain health.

In partnership,

Maggie Merritt
Executive Director
Steinberg Institute

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