Mental Illness Awareness Week (Oct. 7-13) is an opportunity to learn more about serious mental illnesses such as depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. Mental illnesses are medical issues. One in four adults experiences a mental health problem in any given year. One in 17 people lives with serious, chronic mental illness.
In observance of Mental Illness Awareness Week, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Lubbock, in collaboration with the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (TTUHSC) School of Medicine will host a public forum, "Our Mental Health Community," with representatives of the various agencies, hospitals and clinics involved with mental health care, at noon Wednesday (Oct. 10) at the TTUHSC Academic Classroom Building, 3601 4th St. room 220. The School of Medicine will provide a free lunch.
On average, people living with serious mental illness live 25 years less than the rest of the population. Thomas McGovern, Ed.D., Texas Tech Physicians — Psychiatry, said one reason is that less than one-third of adults and less than half of children with a diagnosed mental illness receive treatment.
"The U.S. Surgeon General has reported that stigma is a major barrier to people seeking help when they need it," McGovern said. "That's why mental health awareness is so important. The NAMI Lubbock President Dr. David Gibson and I want people to understand mental illness and join a dialogue in our community. The more people know, the better they can help themselves or help their loved ones get the help and support they need."
When mental health care isn't available in a community, McGovern added the results often are lost jobs and careers, broken families, homelessness, reliance on welfare and expensive costs for hospitals, nursing homes, schools, law enforcement and courts.