TK Recognizes National Mental Health Awareness Month

May is an extraordinary month. We celebrate Mother’s Day and in many parts of our country, April showers bring May flowers.

For the past 65 years, May has also been National Mental Health Awareness Month. The intent of this awareness month is to increase understanding of mental health issues and how profoundly they affect those suffering from them. This year’s theme is “Mind Your Health.”

Considering that one in four people suffer from a mental illness, Timberline Knolls fervently supports the message of NMHA month. Too much ambiguity and misunderstanding has surrounded mental illness for too long. Whether it’s obsessive compulsive disorder, clinical depression, or bipolar disorder, mental illness is an illness, not unlike diabetes, chronic anemia, or heart disease. The difference is that it is located in the mind and many times manifests in observable behavior. And therefore, it has the power to negatively stigmatize those who suffer from such illness.

Whereas our society understandably extends sympathy to one who has life-threatening cancer, the same compassion is rarely shown to an individual who struggles with a life-impairing disease such as bipolar disorder. In fact, the societal message is often that these people should feel ashamed, guilty or embarrassed by the disorder – as if somehow it was their fault for having it in the first place.

This month, we encourage the American public to take a step toward greater understanding of mental illness, especially if a friend or family member struggles with some form of it. And for those who suffer in silence, due to shame or embarrassment, please get help. The behavioral health field has made tremendous strides in treating all forms of mental illness. Help is available; help that can transform your life. It truly is time to “Mind Your Health.”