May is Mental Health Awareness Month

VIP Corner
VIP Corner

Each year millions of Americans face the reality of living with a mental illness. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) is one of many organizations that raise awareness about mental health, fight stigma, provide support, educate the public and advocate for policies that support people with mental illness and their families.

Here are some data points from the National Council for Mental Wellbeing that speak to the scope of the problem:

  • one in five U.S. adults experience mental illness each year.

  • one in 20 adults experience serious mental illness each year.

  • one in six U.S. youth aged 6-17 experience a mental health disorder each year.

  • 50% of all lifetime mental illness begins by age 14, and 75% by age 24.

  • Suicide is the second leading cause of death among people aged 10-34.

Stigma and fear of discrimination keep many who would benefit from mental health services from seeking help. Research shows that the most effective way to reduce stigma is through personal contact with someone with a mental illness.

Good mental health is critical to the well-being of our families, communities, schools and businesses and a greater public awareness about mental illnesses can change negative attitudes and behaviors. Here in Union County, the South Arkansas Regional Health Center (SARHC) is taking the lead in 2021 to “Stop the Stigma.”

On Friday, May 21 from noon to 4 p.m. at its office at 715 N. College Ave. in El Dorado, SARHC is sponsoring a Mental Health Awareness Day Event which is open to the public. There will be free food, snacks, give-a-ways, children’s activities and more! For more information about this event, contact 870-862-7921.

SARHC is part of the Union County Violence Intervention Plan (VIP) which serves as a network of area support, opportunities, and activities focused on best practice strategies for a community committed to individuals and families in need. The VIP is a SHARE Foundation program and can be viewed at For more information, call Debbie Watts, SHARE Foundation VP of Community Health for more information (870) 881-9015.

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