October plays dual role when it comes to awareness

Published 11:01 am Saturday, October 6, 2018

by Lynnora Sumblin

Awareness lead to prevention, early detection and it helps in the fight to find a cure for breast cancer. It also provides an opportunity for family and friends to become intentional in their care and support of their loved ones struggling with specific diagnosis.

October plays a dual role; as Breast Cancer Awareness Month and World Mental Health Day, Oct. 10. I implore you to become your own best advocate. Take all routine tests, all scheduled mammograms and any other recommended medical procedures.

World Mental Health Day was established in 1992 as an activity of the World Federation for Mental Health by the then-Deputy Secretary General Richard Hunter. Each year it has a specific theme, this year’s is “Young People and Mental Health in a Changing World.” According to NAMI, “half of all mental illness begins by the age of 14, but most cases go undetected or untreated.”

This day highlights issues of global mental health education, awareness, and advocacy against the social stigma of mental health illnesses. Treatment and support are available for those who need it-but the door to conversation must be open. It provides an opportunity for all stakeholders working on mental health issues to talk about their work, and what more needs to be done to make mental health care a reality for people worldwide.

Mental health is defined as a state of well-being in which every individual realizes his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community. In contrast, Mental Illness is a medical condition that disrupts a person’s thinking, feeling, mood, ability to relate to others and daily functioning.

An estimated 26.2 percent of Americans ages 18 and older or about one in four adults suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder in a given year. When applied to the 2004 U.S. Census residential population, this figure translates to 57.7 million people.—The Kim Foundation; www.thekimfoundation.org/html/about_mental_ill/statistics.html

Here are just a few things you might consider in observing World Mental Health Day:

  1. Go to WHO website for resources and activities taking place around the world and near you.
  2. Organize a conversation in your office or community. Talk about what it takes to stay healthy in body, mind and spirit with friends and neighbors.
  3. Educate yourself on mental health and share important stats on social media

Remember, you don’t have to have depression or another mental disorder to make a difference on World Mental Health Day. Educating yourself and offering support to your community can help everyone. Sometimes a simple hug or smile goes a long way in the life of someone who is in intense physical pain or extreme mental anguish and experiencing hopelessness. Let’s raise up and become intentional about our health and the health of our loved ones not only during this set-aside month for awareness; but every day.

NAMI: National Alliance on Mental Illness-www.nami.org

If you are in crisis and need immediate help: www.nimh.nih.gov>…>Suicide Prevention

LYNNORA SUMBLIN is the founder and director of Everdelighting Advocacy Center Inc., and author of “My Stolen Innocence.” Contact her at 742-2391 or everdelightlynnora@aol.com.