Mental health awareness has been growing in recent decades, but there is still a long way to go. Work must be done to end the silence and stigma of mental health and make sure it receives the necessary resources to assist those who are dealing with mental illness. Supervisor Kennedy was proud to join the National Association of Mental Illness (NAMI) walk in Land Park to kick off May as Mental Health Awareness Month.
One in five adults in the United States experiences a mental health problem in any given year and one in 17 adults lives with a serious mental illness such as major depression, bipolar disorder or schizophrenia. Identifying mental illness as early as possible is crucial to getting individuals the kind of help and support they need. Approximately one-half of chronic mental illness begins by the age of 14 and three-quarters by the age of 24. Unfortunately there can often be a long delay between the time symptoms first appear and when individuals get help. Making sure people feel safe talking about mental health and making sure community members can recognize the signs of mental illness could make a huge difference for someone facing it.
Sacramento County is working to try and end the stigma of mental health by making it no longer a silent topic, as well as devoting the resources necessary to assist those who suffer from mental illness. On top of passing a resolution to recognize National Mental Health Awareness Month the county has devoted significant funding increases to mental health to improve outreach and service delivery. Through a focused effort to redesign the continuum of care, the county has been able to add mental health crisis response teams, increased the number of psychiatric beds, and partnered with a number of community organizations to increase mental health screening and services.
We have to talk the talk AND walk the walk!