LAUREL, MS (WDAM) - Mental Health Month was started 67 years ago by Mental Health America to raise awareness about mental health conditions and the importance of good mental health for everyone in the month of May.
This is why city leaders, law enforcement and healthcare workers gathered in the rotunda of the Laurel City Hall where Mayor Johnny Magee signed a proclamation naming the month of May as Mental Health Month.
During the month of May, people all across the country are helping by bringing awareness to mental health. It's an effort to fight the stigma that associated with mental health.
It's also a way of encouraging people who may be affected by mental health, whether personally or dealing with the mental health of a loved one and to show that there is help out there.
One of the biggest misunderstandings about mental health is that it is a sign of weakness.
However, having a mental health illness is not caused by personal weakness, nor can it be cured by positive thinking or willpower.
Proper treatment from trained professionals is needed for those with a mental illness.
It is also important to know that having a mental illness has nothing to do with being lazy or weak and many people need help to get better.
There are many dynamics that contribute to mental health problems, including biological factors such as physical illness or differences in brain chemistry, life experiences such as trauma or a history of abuse, or having a family history of mental health problems.
If you have, or suspect that you have, a mental illness, you are not alone. In fact, mental illnesses are more common than cancer, diabetes, or heart disease.
Adults are not the only age group that experience mental illness. In fact, one of every five adolescents is coping with a diagnosable mental health condition, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.
Many who seek treatment do get better.
Between 70 and 90 percent of people with mental illness experience a significant reduction of symptoms and an improved quality of life with the proper care and treatment, according to NAMI. It takes a lot of courage to take the first step and agree to seek treatment.
If you or a loved one is struggling with a mental health issue or concern, please contact your physician.