Throughout the calendar year, there are specific days and weeks that are dedicated to spreading awareness and understanding of the diseases of addiction and mental illness across the country through support, education, and advocacy. Nevertheless, just like managing life with mental illness and/or addiction recovery, working to increase awareness is a daily task.
The struggles associated with diseases of addiction and mental illness are some of the deadliest, so taking a week to highlight the importance of addiction recovery and/or mental illness awareness is necessary, BUT IS IT ENOUGH?
Here are four reasons why talking about addiction recovery and/or mental illness is so important:
1. MORE PEOPLE ARE IMPACTED THAN YOU MAY THINK
Almost everybody in the music community is impacted by addiction recovery and/or mental illness in some way, whether they personally struggle or they know someone who does. A 2015 study by the National Institute for Mental Health found that nearly 1 in 5 – 43.8 million – American adults suffer from a mental illness in any given year. Adolescents ages 13-18 are also impacted by mental illness as 21.4% of them will experience a severe mental illness at some point in their life. Other studies report that these numbers may be even higher but cannot be accurately recorded as a result of people being unable to come forward about their struggle.
2. INFORMATION AND AWARENESS MUST INCREASE
Talking about addiction and/or mental illness can help those struggling realize they are not alone. They have support on their way to recovery and they are not the only one who feels the way they do. For those who are not affected by addiction and/or mental illness, the conversation about addiction and/or mental illness can help inform them about risk factors, symptoms, treatment, and prevention methods, which will allow them to help the people around them. This can make for a society that is more informed and accepting about addiction recovery and/or mental illness.
3. STIGMA CAN BE ELIMINATED
Stigma towards addiction and/or mental illness often causes people to feel isolated, stereotyped, shameful, or discriminated against, all of which can hinder recovery. By talking openly and showing there is more to someone than their addiction and/or mental illness, people can see that no one has to be defined by that alone.
4. TREATMENT IS CRUCIAL
The combination of the above reasons may help someone realize that what they’re experiencing is a serious issue, AND help is available. This is imperative because people who live with the diseases of addiction and/or mental illness are more likely to develop other chronic medical conditions and die earlier than others, usually as a result of treatable conditions. Seeking out treatment can be the first step in improving the rest of life.
The more people openly discuss addiction and/or mental illness, the easier it is to do. One conversation can start a chain reaction.
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As long as mental illness and the disease of addiction persist, none of us can truly rest.
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SO THE SHOW CAN GO ON!