Mental illness is more common than many think.
But what’s often overlooked is the variety of challenges faced by individuals living with these diseases.
The first is obvious – the daily symptoms and struggles associated with mental illness.
The second is less apparent but deeply engrained in society as a whole – social stigma. Stereotypes generated from public misconception have grave impacts on the individuals dealing with mental illness.
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The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration estimates that nearly 60 percent of adults with a mental illness didn’t receive mental health services in the previous year, which significantly hinders their ability to maintain a strong quality of life.
This includes finding jobs, securing safe housing, and playing an active role in their communities.
In San Diego, there are numerous organizations fighting against this stigma and providing support and services for those impacted most by mental illness.
Struggles associated with mental illness start early on. The National Alliance on Mental Illness found that one-half of all chronic mental illness begins by the age of 14; three-quarters by the age of 24.
San Diego Youth Services helps these vulnerable members of our communities by providing prevention, early intervention and treatment services for youth and families who are at-risk and experiencing mental health and substance abuse problems. By reaching youth in school, at home and on the streets, the organization ensures that all individuals have access to the necessary resources and programs to aid in treatment.
In addition, alcohol and drug addiction is a public health problem that touches all communities, regardless of how rich or poor.
The Crossroads Foundation is an organization committed to fighting back by offering a residential recovery program for local women trying to beat addiction. The organization was founded by a collection of judges, attorneys and civic leaders, and today has helped hundreds of women live healthy, successful lives in the San Diego region.
Education and Action
Mental illnesses are real disorders with real treatments.
This year, President Barack Obama proclaimed May, National Mental Health Awareness Month, and recognized those Americans who live with mental illness and substance use disorders.
The San Diego region is rich with nonprofit organizations that both educate the public and address the challenges facing the mentally ill. Learn more about the topic and donate to one of the local groups providing mental health programs:
- Alpha Project
- Alzheimer’s Disease & Related Disorders Association
- Armed Services YMCA San Diego
- Casa de Amparo
- Crossroads Foundation
- The George G. Glenner Alzheimer’s Family Center
- North County Alano Club Forever
- Palomar Family Counseling Service Inc.
- Rachel’s Women’s Center Catholic Charities
- San Diego LGBT Community Center
- San Diego Salvation Army
- San Diego Youth Services
How is your organization supporting mental health in the San Diego region? Share your efforts with us in the comments below!