May: Mental Health Awareness Month

Mental Health Awareness Month

Since 1949 May has been designated as Mental Health Awareness Month to reach the public with information about the many facets of mental health.

According to National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) “one in five adults experiences a mental health condition every year, including one in 20 lives with a serious mental illness such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. In addition to the person directly experiencing the mental illness, family, friends and communities are also affected.”

Living with a complicated condition, either physical or mental, presents challenges for individuals and their families. Many illnesses that are considered “physical” have outward symptoms, while mental illnesses can not always be easily detected and may be under diagnosed or misdiagnosed.  This was historically true for many individuals with disabilities and, as a result, their specific treatment needs were subsequently overlooked.

By recognizing changing attitudes towards the stigma attached to mental illness, positive changes have been made for those who are diagnosed. We now see a healthier outlook of understanding and more ways to assimilate those affected within society through treatment programs and modern approaches.

Opengate’s programs are designed to assist with the transition for adults with developmental disabilities.  In addition to an intellectual or developmental disability, many individuals served also experience a co-occurring significant behavioral health issue or have intensive behavioral support needs related to their disability.

Through specialized and seamless therapeutic and clinical services, the individuals are recognized with dignity and respect while making informed choices about their specific circumstances (particularly if there are existing behavioral health issues.)

“Opengate acknowledges that each person has the right to be treated with respect and fairness.”  says Brian Hulten, LCSW, Chief Executive Officer. “Family members and caregivers play a large role in the support of those with a mental health condition. Opengate and our direct service providers strive to offer the support, assistance and information necessary to help better understand the issues they face,” he adds.

In observing Mental Health Awareness Month there is a united effort throughout the US to call attention to all of the strategies available to help achieve balance and overall wellness.

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