Mental Health Awareness?

May 02, 2018

What you need to know: 

In 2016, President Obama declared May as National Mental Health Awareness month to engage public support and encourage those with mental illness to seek treatment. Mental illness is prevalent, affecting one out of every five Americans, yet many are ashamed and embarrassed to ask for help because of the stigma that often accompanies diagnosis. The average length of time between onset of mental illness symptoms and treatment is nine years. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) has launched the StigmaFree campaign to try and remove social and organizational barriers to pave the way toward acceptance and treatment, so the path to recovery is shortened.

One suggested method of removing barriers to diagnosis and treatment is to integrate mental health services in the primary care setting. When patients can discuss mental health concerns in the same way they would voice physical health complaints, it helps normalize the illness. Programs made up of interdisciplinary teams that include mental health and primary care experts have demonstrated success in removing treatment barriers and decreasing stigma, including the self-stigma that mental health patients often experience.

Mental health is an important part of a person’s overall well-being and May is a positive reminder to remove the stigma associated with mental illness. 

Read more about mental health awareness and stigma here:

Behavioral Medicine: A Guide for Clinical Practice, 4e > 25: Depression

Principles and Practice of Hospital Medicine, 2e > Chapter 224: Combat Stress and Related Disorders

CURRENT Diagnosis & Treatment Pediatrics, 23e > Chapter 7: Child & Adolescent Psychiatric Disorders & Psychosocial Aspects of Pediatrics

National Alliance on Mental Illness


Melanie Allison

Executive Editorial Specialist, McGraw-Hill Education

Melanie Allison is the Executive Editorial Specialist with McGraw-Hill Education. She earned her Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree and Post-Master’s Certificate in Nursing Education from The Johns Hopkins University. She earned her Master’s of Science in Nursing degree (MSN), specializing as an acute care nurse practitioner (ACNP), from Vanderbilt University. Melanie has more than 20 years of experience as a registered nurse and nurse practitioner in adult cardiology. She is an adjunct faculty member at a top school of nursing, where she has taught for more than 13 years.

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