(Auburn/Lewiston, Maine) October 4 – October 10, 2015 is Mental Illness Awareness Week. Health Affiliates Maine a statewide substance abuse and mental health agency, and the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) of Maine are both calling on the public to learn the symptoms of mental illnesses such as depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia and to “go stigma free”.
To “go stigma free”, is to see the person, not the illness; to listen and to understand. “It is also a time to free everyone from stereotypes that too often discourages people from getting help when they need it.” says Executive Director, Andrea Krebs of Health Affiliates Maine.
One in five adults experience mental illness every year; however, 50 percent of chronic mental illness begins by age 14 and three-quarters by age 24. Although many people today understand that mental illness is a medical condition, individuals and families affected by mental illness are still often subjected to stigma and discrimination. “This is a time to raise public awareness about mental illness,” says Krebs, “NAMI and Health Affiliates Maine hope everyone will educate themselves about mental illness and share what they learn with family, friends and others.”
NAMI Maine provides support, education and advocacy for any individual affected by mental health concerns. Find out more by visiting www.namimaine.org or by contacting the Help Line at (800) 464-5767. Health Affiliates Maine offers a variety of mental health services, to make a referral, an appointment or for more information about Health Affiliates Maine call 1-877-888-4304 or visit www.healthaffiliatesmaine.com.