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Letter to the Editor: Wear green to boost awareness of mental illness

Since 1949, May has been National Mental Illness Awareness Month. It is a time to educate the public about mental health, as well as to assure that those who need mental health services receive the help they need.

Did you know that one in four Americans will suffer from a mental illness? As I was researching the topic, I learned that for every soldier who dies in combat, 25 die of suicide. I also learned that more people die of suicide than in traffic accidents or homicides! It’s time to ramp up our awareness.

Because of stigma, lack of education, and general denial, only about one-third of those who suffer from a mental illness receive treatment. Some turn to ineffective coping methods, resulting in substance abuse and addiction, broken relationships, broken homes, homelessness, and suicide. Many of these problems could be avoided with appropriate mental health care.

It is time for Americans to become aware of the problem and learn that mental health is for everyone.

Watch for mental health-related activities taking place around this area throughout the month of May. We encourage everyone to wear lime green on May 21, to increase awareness of mental health and to help people learn that mental illness is treatable and recovery is possible.

Wear lime green this Wednesday, May 21!

Sue Wilken

Executive Director

A Place to Belong

Fergus Falls, MN