Today, October 10, is World Mental Health Day.
One in five Americans — nearly 44 million people — will struggle with mental illness this year, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.
Far too many of those people will struggle in silence.
The stigma around mental illness often prevents people from reaching out to doctors and therapists for support, or even from talking to close friends and family members. The fear of discrimination is very real, but the consequences of not speaking up can be worse. Mental health conditions adversely affect physical health, and can also have an outsized negative impact on careers, relationships, and more.
We know reaching out for help is difficult. That’s why on this Mental Health Day, we’re celebrating those who do. Our new campaign “Here for Me” highlights a few individuals who were courageous enough to ask for help when they needed it most — and who were fortunate enough to have friends and family members offer them a helping hand.
There’s Jackson, a long-time firefighter who suffered from depression following a knee injury. There’s Clare, a busy working mom who became overwhelmed juggling her many personal and professional responsibilities. And there’s Diane, an 8th-grade science teacher who suddenly found herself experiencing panic attacks in the classroom.
These three people come from different circumstances and dealt with different challenges. What unites them is their bravery. They risked vulnerability and perceived shame to open up to trusted loved ones, get in touch with a doctor, and figure out a plan to move forward with their lives. They realized that in order to care for others — their children, colleagues, partners, friends, and students — they needed to be there for themselves first.
Today and everyday, we hope you’ll join us in celebrating everyday heroes like Jackson, Clare, and Diane, and in continuing to work to overcome the stigma around mental health. If you’re struggling right now, it’s never too late to ask for help: here are some places to turn if you need support. If you don’t need help yourself, the most important thing you can do is be there for your friends, family members, and colleagues. Here are some suggestions for ways to support others.
If you’re having thoughts of hurting yourself or others, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline on 1-800-273-8255 or Lifeline Crisis Chat. If your life is in danger, call 911 or go directly to emergency services.