In 1949, Mental Health America led the way in establishing May as Mental Health Awareness Month. Since that time, mental health care has come a long way through a better understanding of behavioral health conditions, the development of corresponding evidence-based practices, and improved health care delivery.
However, we still have a ways to go.
“On average, Americans with major mental illness die 14 to 32 years earlier than the general population.”
Every time I hear it, I’m alarmed. Contrary to popular belief, most people with serious mental illness do not die from suicide or violence. They die from the same conditions as those without serious mental illness – cancer, heart disease, diabetes.
Happy New Year, Veterans (and all of us who benefit from your selfless service on behalf of our country)!
Despite a year of political upheaval and angst in Washington, veterans can be pleased with the new administration’s Veterans Affairs (VA) policy direction that has earned significant bipartisan support.
My story is really about one of my daughters.
To protect her privacy as I tell her story, I’ll call her Elizabeth. Elizabeth has had suicidal ideations from since she was about 12 to about 17. At 4 years old, she was misdiagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Within hours of being at the Washington Hilton, I knew I was in for a special experience.
As I began to set up Beacon’s booth at the 2017 National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Annual Convention, I couldn’t help but notice the hopeful faces all around me.
Perhaps there’s a good reason it took me until late June, LGBT Pride Month, to write this blog.
The fact is, as a gay man in 2017, I don’t feel proud; I feel anxious. As both a clinician and a consumer of behavioral health services, I’m in a unique position to appreciate why LGBT folks are increasingly nervous today.