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Mental Health Awareness Month: Standing Up for Opening Up

For much of the last two years, the majority of us have been struggling with the reality of how to live with the prolonged isolation from family and friends that came with the COVID-19 global pandemic. This health crisis created levels of anxiety and fear many of us have never experienced before. Add to that the uncertainty created by economic, political, and social upheaval we have all witnessed since the beginning of the year, it once seems right that this month is the time to have open discussions with others around mental health issues.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, nearly 1 in 5 U.S. adults live with a mental illness (52.9 million in 2020). Mental illnesses include many different conditions that vary in degree of severity, ranging from mild to moderate to severe.

 

These medical conditions that affect mood and a variety of other symptoms come with their own set of challenges, shortcomings, and general experiences. Oftentimes, brain chemistry imbalances are the most devastating of all medical conditions for the individual AND the family. These disorders can be difficult to diagnose (and thus properly treat), but that does not mean they are any less real or isolating to the person experiencing them.

In a culture that values physical health and well-being, we are constantly reminded of the discrepancy between mental wellbeing and that of the body. It is often easier to overlook those who only suffer inside themselves than it is to insist on widespread mental health support.

We encourage everyone to share their stories and experiences about mental health, both in their own lives and in the lives of friends and family, to the extent to which they are comfortable. Living openly and honestly is a key part of helping to fight against the stigma, and so we encourage everyone to seek help for themselves or encourage others to do so during this month especially.

It's great to be aware, but life only gets better when you take action. Call us at 770-817-9200 or share this number with someone who can benefit from specialized medical support for their disorder.

Author
Angelo Sambunaris, M.D.

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