LISBON - Each year during the month of May, Mental Health America (MHA) sponsors National Mental Health Month.
For over 100 years, MHA has been the country's leading nonprofit organization dedicated to helping all people live mentally healthier lives.
This year's theme is "Do More For 1 in 4." One in 4 - that's how many adult Americans live with a diagnosable mental health condition. While mental health and substance conditions are common, they are extremely treatable, and individuals go on to recover and lead full and productive lives.
During Mental Health Month, and the Columbiana County Mental Health and Recovery Services Board is spreading the word about mental health and how important it is to a person's overall health.
It is unfortunate that as high as 50 percent of the people living with a mental health condition never seek or receive help due to stigma, lack of information, cost, or lack of health insurance coverage.
Many people are reluctant to ask for help or don't know where to find it.
The passage of the federal mental health parity and addiction equity act represents a step in the right direction. Employers who do offer coverage for mental health and substance use conditions, must ensure that the coverage is on a par with coverage for other medical conditions.
Higher deductibles, steeper co-pays and other restrictions are no longer allowed for treatment of these conditions.
"There are effective treatments for all mental health disorders," said Kathie Chaffee, MHRS Board Executive Director. "For serious and persistent disorders, recovery rates are between 60 80 percent, depending on the diagnosis, severity of symptoms, and recovery environment.
These rates are higher than most people would guess. There are now effective treatments for all mental health disorders. Treatment works and people recover. It is important that we spread the word about it."
Activities planned for this month include a "Stomp Out Stigma Walk the Recovery Walk" on Wednesday, May 16 from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on the Square in Lisbon. Rain date is May 23, 2012.
This event, planned by the Columbiana County Recovery Initiative, seeks to call attention to the fact that mental illnesses and addictions are equal opportunity illnesses. Persons from all backgrounds and all walks of life develop these illnesses.
Stigma is the negative judgment based on the false belief that mental illnesses and addictions are personal weaknesses, and that people with these illnesses should be avoided.
Stigma breeds misunderstanding, discrimination, and unnecessary shame. Stigma discourages people with mental illnesses and addictions from seeking help.
For more information, contact Maureen Boals or Kathie Chaffee at the Columbiana County MHRS Board at 330-424-0195.
Also planned this month is a "Schizophrenia Awareness Walk" at 11 a.m. on Saturday. This event is sponsored by Shining Reflections and will begin at the Kent State East Liverpool Branch and will end at the Diamond.
The program in the Diamond will begin at noon and end at 1 p.m. For more information, call Shining Reflections at 330-385-7000.