It’s a statistic many people find disturbing: one in four adults will suffer from a mental illness in any given year. And yet, with roughly 25 percent of the population affected, mental health illnesses and issues are still whispered about, or worse, not spoken about at all.
May is Mental Health Awareness Month, a designation created to start conversations about mental health. To help raise awareness, Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak is holding a a Mental Health Fair will be held on Wednesday, May 28, from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the South Tower concourse.
“It’s our responsibility as medical providers to address the stigma that’s attached to mental illness. As a doctor, it’s my responsibility to educate the public,” says William Miles, M.D., director of Inpatient Services for Psychiatry at Beaumont, Royal Oak. “We have to encourage people to not be afraid of getting treatment or asking for help, and that’s what we hope to do at the fair. We need to talk about depression, anxiety, schizophrenia and other illnesses the same way we openly talk about diabetes, high blood pressure or heart disease.”
Beaumont and community programs participating in the Mental Health Fair include:
One of the most important reasons to bring mental illness into the conversation is so people who need help, get it.
“Ignoring symptoms is unsafe and can result in death. Depression has a 10 to 12 percent mortality rate,” says Dr. Miles.
Beaumont’s 30-bed inpatient psychiatry unit treats adults with conditions ranging from depression and anxiety to eating disorders and schizophrenia. Beaumont also offers a partial hospitalization program where patients spend the night at home, but come to the hospital for treatment during the day.
While advanced care is available, many people with mental illness can be treated by their primary care physician. “About 80 percent of antidepressants prescribed in the United States are given by primary care providers,” says Dr. Miles. “However, if you believe someone is in danger or suicidal, you should call 911 or take them to the nearest emergency center right away.”