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13 Reasons To Talk About Mental Health

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Mary Haggerty, Outreach Coordinator

Unless you have been avoiding the internet, the television, and (gasp) Netflix, you have probably heard of the extremely popular show “13 Reasons Why”. This show involves teenagers dealing with bullying, suicide and sexual assault. What it does not involve, unfortunately, are conversations about how mental health relates to these topics.

According to Dan Reidenberg, executive director for Suicide Awareness Voices of Education, the story line does not present any viable alternatives to suicide. “The show doesn’t talk about mental illness or depression, doesn’t name those words,” said Reidenberg. “My thoughts about the series are that it’s probably done more harm than any good.”

While the show has been the catalyst for many conversations, it is important to make sure mental health is being included in the discourse.

In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month here are 13 reasons why having these conversations are so important:

  1. More than 90% of children who die by suicide have a mental health condition.
  2. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S., the 3rd leading cause of death for people aged 10–24 and the 2nd leading cause of death for people aged 15–24.
  3. Approximately 1 in 5 adults in the U.S. experiences mental illness in a given year.
  4. Approximately 1 in 5 youth aged 13–18 experiences a severe mental disorder at some point during their life.
  5. Half of all chronic mental illness begins by age 14; three-quarters by age 24.
  6. Mood disorders, including major depression, dysthymic disorder and bipolar disorder, are the third most common cause of hospitalization in the U.S. for both youth and adults aged 18–44.
  7. Among the 20.2 million adults in the U.S. who experienced a substance use disorder, 50.5%—10.2 million adults—had a co-occurring mental illness.
  8. An estimated 26% of homeless adults staying in shelters live with serious mental illness.
  9. Over one-third (37%) of students with a mental health condition age 14­–21 and older who are served by special education drop out—the highest dropout rate of any disability group.
  10. 54% to 84% of abused women suffer from PTSD, 63% to 77% of abused women experience depression, and 38% to 75% experience anxiety.
  11.  Adults in the U.S. living with serious mental illness die on average 25 years earlier than others, largely due to treatable medical conditions.
  12. 70% of youth in juvenile justice systems have at least one mental health condition and at least 20% live with a serious mental illness.
  13. Each day an estimated 18-22 veterans die by suicide

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