October 5th through 11th is Mental Illness Awareness Week. This week is dedicated to informing the public about the severity of mental illness and about ways that we can help people who suffer from it.
It’s important to raise awareness because millions of Americans suffer from a mental health condition each year, and they may be closer to you than you think. While illnesses such as depression and eating disorders are often dismissed as things that a person chooses to do, that is not the case.
According to the Mayo Clinic, “Depression isn’t a weakness, nor is it something that you can simply ‘snap out’ of.” Depression is not something a person chooses to have; it’s a side effect of a tragedy or an imbalance of hormones, both of which are completely out of one’s control. The Mayo Clinic also describes eating disorders as being effects of biology, mental and physiological health, and society. Again, all of these factors are out of one’s control. Both of these conditions, however, can be cured or at least improved through means of medical attention and therapeutic assistance.
It is imperative that we raise awareness about mental illness. So many people are affected each year, and your help could make a difference in someone’s life. If you can simply reach out to someone you know who is suffering from a mental illness, you can offer them the support and encouragement that they may desperately need.