May 11, 2010

State of Alabama
Press Release: Mental Health, Department of

MAY IS NATIONAL MENTAL HEALTH MONTH

MONTGOMERY – National Mental Health Month, which has been observed for more than 50 years each May, provides an excellent opportunity to increase awareness about mental illnesses and the importance of mental wellness for all. The Alabama Department of Mental Health joins both national and statewide advocacy organizations in promoting this observance and its purpose. According to the National Institute for Mental Health, an estimated 26.2 percent of Americans ages 18 and older – about one in four adults – have a diagnosable mental disorder in a given year. In Alabama, the Department of Mental Health serves more than 100,000 people per year with mental illness through community contract providers and more than 4,000 people per year in state psychiatric hospitals.

Despite its pervasiveness, mental health and mental illnesses remain a mystery to many. Mental health professionals and advocates often refer to those experiencing a mental illness or in recovery from a mental illness as “a silent army.” This is because of stigma wrongly associated with mental illnesses, which often prevents people from seeking treatment or talking about their treatment and recovery. John Houston, Commissioner of the Alabama Department of Mental Health says, “Mental illnesses are biological brain disorders that are highly treatable with modern medication and care. When people realize that these symptoms are biologically and psychologically based and that they are not ‘failures in character,’ they are more likely to go to the doctor before a crisis occurs.”

Mental Health Month is sponsored each year by Mental Health America, and this year they are continuing the “Live Your Life Well” public education campaign. It seeks to provide people with 10 specific, research-based tools that can combat stress and promote health and well-being. The 10 tools include getting better sleep, improving eating habits, promoting relaxation techniques, and more. A full listing of the tools, along with information about seeking the help of mental health professionals, can be found at the Live Your Life Well website at www.lifeyourlifewell.org.

In keeping with the theme set by the national organization, Mental Health America Montgomery is hosting a Live Your Life Well spring education workshop May 20, 2010 at the Capital City Club in Montgomery. The workshop is targeted toward mental health professionals, nurses, social workers, and counselors with continuing education credits offered. Various expert presenters will host four sessions throughout the day that fall into the program’s theme of how recovery from a mental illness is multifaceted and includes physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual health. More information about this workshop can be obtained by contacting Mental Health America Montgomery at 334-262-5500.

RESOURCES

Information about mental health services in the state of Alabama can be obtained by contacting the Department of Mental Health’s Office of Public Information and Community Relations at 334-242-3417 or by visiting us online at www.mh.alabama.gov.

For more information about Mental Health America in Montgomery contact Wanda Laird, Executive Director, at 334 262-5500.

For more information about National Mental Health Month, visit www.nmha.org.

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  • For more information, visit http://mh.alabama.gov
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