Clinical Mental Health Counseling Profession Launches Anti-Stigma Mental Illness Campaign
Thursday, May 5, 2016
Posted by: Whitney Meyerhoeffer
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 5, 2016
Contact: Whitney Meyerhoeffer
Clinical Mental Health Counseling Profession Launches
Anti-Stigma Mental Illness Campaign
ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Today the Public Awareness Committee of the American Mental Health Counselors Association (AMHCA) launched the organization’s “Breaking the Silence” campaign.
This campaign is an effort to call attention to the strong social stigma attached to mental illness. This effort coincides with the launch of Mental Health Month in the United States but the AMHCA initiative will be a long range campaign with the goal of substantially reducing stigma and discrimination associated with mental illness.
- One in five American adults experience a mental illness, but more than half did not receive needed counseling in the past year.
- One in 25 American adults experience a serious mental illness such as major depression, bipolar disorder or schizophrenia, but one-third did not receive counseling in the past year.
“The main reason the numbers of untreated conditions are so astounding is that people are afraid to seek care due to the stigma and discrimination they believe each will face if it was known they had a mental illness,” said LaMarr Edgerson, an AMHCA Board Member and Chair of AMHCA’s Public Awareness Committee. “In this day and age when we have so many effective counseling services at our disposal to help people with mental illness recover from their condition and lead productive lives, it is a crime that millions of people go without care,” Dr. Edgerson highlighted.
AMHCA’s Public Awareness Committee has also developed a separate website dedicated to the Breaking the Silence initiative to address mental health stigma. The website on stigma issues – that can be accessed at www.amhca.org/breakingthesilence, will include proposed op-eds and letters to the editor that clinical mental health counselors, other mental health providers, and consumers should use and edit to reflect their personnel experience, stories and writing style, in order to submit pieces to various media outlets.
“The whole idea behind this campaign is to highlight that if you are feeling depressed, anxious, having trouble sleeping and other concerns, and you have been experiencing those feelings for a length of time – don’t wait – get counseling,” said Keith Mobley, President of the American Mental Health Counselors Association.
“We understand that you may be reluctant to admit you need counseling. But don't let the fear of being labeled with a mental illness prevent you from seeking help. Counseling can provide relief by identifying what's wrong and reducing symptoms that interfere with your work and personal life. The key is to act sooner than later, and improve your quality of life.” Dr. Mobley emphasized.
The American Mental Health Counselors Association (AMHCA) works to enhance the profession of mental health counseling through advocacy, education, licensure, and professional development.
AMHCA, 675 North Washington St, Ste 470, Alexandria VA, 22314, 703-548-6002, www.amhca.org