Mental health affects more people than would be expected

Have you been affected or known someone who has been affected by mental illness? (answers are anonymous)

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Millions of people live with a mental illness whether they realize it or not. The first week of October was National Mental Health Awareness week and October 10 was World Mental Health Day.

Young adults are among some of the most affected by mental health issues, which means college students are at high risk. Drastic changes that accompany college like moving, making new friends and being by yourself affect mental health drastically.

Mental health problems can start early. Twenty percent of mental health disorders can be diagnosed from ages five to 16. 5 percent of all mental health issues start at age 14 and by 24, 75 percent of mental health disorders are detected according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

Mental health disorders include more than schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and autism. They can affect anyone no matter their race, gender, or social class. Genetics, stress, and even nutrition can contribute to mental disorders.

Anxiety, depression, anorexia nervosa, bulimia and many other conditions are classified as mental illnesses. Depression is very common with about 300 million people being affected worldwide.

Mental Health Awareness week is about educating the public and providing support, because mental illnesses can impact everyone either directly or indirectly. Recognition of the importance of mental health is increasing and by spreading awareness, mental health issues can be prevented or recovered from.

“I think mental health is very important. It’s a very serious issue today and in order to take care of yourself and others, your own mental health needs to be in good standing. I have not been personally affected by mental illness but some of my family members have shown signs of depression and post-traumatic stress,” Marquel Greene, a psychology major at Lewis-Clark State College said.

Almost 19 percent of adolescents and young adults suffer from some sort of mental illness today. One in five adults face mental illness and one obstacle that they all face is the stigma behind it. It is proven that stigma creates a boundary between the person suffering from a mental illness and finding treatment.

If you or anyone you know is concerned or curious about mental health, Adult Mental Health Services is available in Lewiston at (208) 799-4440, along with other counseling centers in the area. The National Alliance on Mental Illness hotline is: 1-800-950-NAMI (6264) and there are other crisis hotlines available online.