Mental Health Challenges May be More Common Than You Think
By Mary Kuhlman, Indiana News Service
(Indianapolis, Ind.) – It could be a family member, a friend, a neighbor or even yourself, but chances are you know someone struggling with a mental health condition.
While one in 17 Hoosiers is currently coping with a serious mental illness, such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder or post-traumatic stress syndrome, Joshua Sprunger, executive director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Indiana, says one in four will experience a mental health challenge at some point in his or her lifetime.
“It may not be debilitating symptoms or needing hospitalization or medication, but many people go through some mental health challenge,” Sprunger stresses. “So making it comfortable for people to talk about the things that they themselves or their family members are going through is really important.”
Sprunger adds most mental illnesses are biological and treatable, and medication and therapy can help people recover.
May is Mental Health Awareness Month and he says it provides an opportunity to open up conversations about mental illness to ensure those who need help are getting it when and where they need it.
Sprunger points out that recovery is possible, and often takes a combination of resources starting with treatment from a primary care provider or psychologist.
“Often times that’s psycho-social therapy, different kinds of medications and also connections with case management services in the community and also being involved with support groups,” he says.
He adds that in Indiana there are gaps in support, with about just a half of those who need treatment getting it.
“When we talk about closing the treatment gap, that is getting help to people who may not know where to go,” he says. “We really ask many of our community leaders, whether it be government sector, business sector, nonprofit sector to consider additional investment.”
Sprunger encourages anyone who is concerned about his or her mental health to reach out to a physician or local mental health center to be connected with resources and treatment opportunities.