HARRISBURG, Pa., May 13, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today, DHS, in collaboration with PA's Partners in Mental Health, hosted the 2016 Mental Health Awareness Fair in Harrisburg to raise awareness and understanding of mental illness and substance use disorders. Additionally, Governor Tom Wolf has proclaimed May to be Mental Health Awareness Month.
"Every Pennsylvanian is affected in some way by mental illness and substance use disorders. In order to cut the stigma associated with these illnesses, we must build awareness," said DHS Secretary Ted Dallas. "The department is committed to providing quality care to these individuals, in hopes that every Pennsylvanian is granted access to these critical services for their well-being."
Hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvanians live with a mental health concern. The Department of Human Services (DHS) is working to end the stigma associated with mental health issues. One in four Americans will experience mental illness while one in four has a substance use disorder in their families. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), in the US today, 8.4 million people have co-occurring disorders – both mental illness and substance use disorder – but only 7.4 percent of these individuals receive treatment for both conditions with 55.8 percent receiving no treatment at all.
Each mental illness has its own set of symptoms but some common signs of mental illness can include the following:
- Excessive worrying or fear
- Feeling excessively sad or low
- Confused thinking or problems concentrating and learning
- Extreme mood changes, including uncontrollable "highs" or feelings of euphoria
- Prolonged or strong feelings of irritability or anger
- Avoiding friends and social activities
- Difficulties in understanding or relating to other people
- Changes in sleeping habits or feeling tired or experiencing low energy
- Changes in eating habits such as increased hunger or lack of appetite
- Difficulty perceiving reality (delusions or hallucinations, in which a person experiences and senses things that don't exist in objective reality)
- Inability to perceive changes in one's own feelings, behavior, or personality
- Abuse of substances like alcohol or drugs
- Multiple physical ailments without obvious causes (such as headaches, stomach aches, vague and ongoing "aches and pains")
- Thinking about suicide
- Inability to carry out daily activities or handle daily problems and stress
- An intense fear of weight gain or concern with appearance (mostly in adolescents)
MEDIA CONTACT: Rachel Kostelac, 717-425-7606
MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS MONTH
WHEREAS, the mental health of every citizen is essential to the emotional and economic prosperity of our families, communities, and businesses in the Commonwealth; and
WHEREAS, mental health is a key component of everyone's overall physical health and emotional well-being; and
WHEREAS, mood disorders, including major depression and bipolar disorder, are the third most common cause of hospitalization in the U.S. for individuals aged 18 to 44; and
WHEREAS, one in four people have a diagnosable mental illness, and one person dies by suicide every 13 minutes; and
WHEREAS, feelings of personal shame and fears of social discrimination prevent many suffering from mental illness from seeking help; and
WHEREAS, untreated mental illness leads to higher rates of emergency department visits, hospitalizations, school drop-outs, and suicides; and
WHEREAS, stigma leads to fear, mistrust, and violence againstpeople with mental illness, who are significantly more likely to be victims than perpetrators of violent crimes; and
WHEREAS, we strive to create communities that support mental illness in the commonwealth by increasing access to treatment, educating ourselves and our communities about mental wellness, and supporting our fellow citizens as they seek to improve their mental health; and
WHEREAS, greater public awareness and education about mental wellness can positively transform attitudes towards people with mental illness, so making it easier for our fellow citizens to seek help;
THEREFORE, I, Tom Wolf, Governor of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, do hereby proclaim May 2016 as MENTAL HEALTH MONTH. I call on citizens, government agencies, public and private institutions, businesses, and schools to recommit ourselves to increasing our awareness and understanding of mental health and to recognize the necessity of accessible, appropriate mental health services for all Pennsylvanians.
GIVEN under my hand and the Seal of the Governor, at the City of Harrisburg, on this twenty-fifth day of April in the year of our Lord two thousand and sixteen, and of the Commonwealth the two hundred and fortieth.
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SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Human Services