According to the Center for Disease Control, mental illness is among the most common health concerns in the United States. Upwards of 50% of adults will need treatment for mental health in their lifetime. 1 in 25 is currently living with a serious mental illness. Over 10% of adults report feeling worried, experiencing nervousness and being anxious.
We know that many mental health issues are first discernible during early adolescence, including depression, anxiety, eating disorders, substance use. Covid has had an enormous impact on the mental well being for both youth and adults, evidenced by the increase in substance use, overdose, rates of reported depression, anxiety, eating disorders and other mental health challenges.
Why then, does stigma with mental health and mental illness continue to exist?
I quote Antony Sheehan, CEO of Aspire Health Alliance, “All Health Is Mental Health”.
Stigma, as defined, is an unfair social attitude, placing shame. It stems from societal disapproval and negative beliefs. At its core, it emerges from lack of awareness, lack of science based education, negative perceptions and ultimately, fear.
The impact of stigma is profound. It can delay those in need to pursue help, which in turn, can lead to worsened and more intense mental health issues and challenges.
Youth Health Connection, now in partnership with Aspire Health Alliance, is dedicated to reducing stigma around mental health and mental illness. As YHC enters our 28th year serving communities on the South Shore, we continue to focus on our core mission:
- Early Identification
- Early Intervention
- Early Referral
We believe that to combat stigma we must unite to:
- Provide public education regarding mental health and mental illness
- Dispel inaccurate beliefs
- Open dialog and conversation
Our goal is to:
Create understanding and pathways for help and treatment
YHC and Aspire are collaborating and offer avenues for both education and prevention, as well as help for those in need.
Please join us in reducing the silence and raising our strong voices as we reduce stigma and bring open arms to anyone in need!