Divisional Director, The Jason Foundation, Inc.
May is Mental Health Awareness Month, an annual observance designed to increase awareness about mental health and mental illness. According to Mental Health America (MHA), adolescent depression is increasing at an alarming rate and recent studies show that as many as one in five teen suffers from clinical depression. The latest CDC Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance Survey (YRBS), shows that in Louisiana 31.7% of high school students answered they have experienced the feeling of hopelessness and sadness for a constant period of two weeks or greater during the past 12 months (possible beginning of clinical depression).
Good mental health is essential to overall health and personal well-being. It also contributes to the ability to lead a healthy, balanced and productive life. Emotional problems can impair a person’s thinking, feelings, and behavior and, overtime, can become increasingly serious and disabling. Unfortunately, many people do not seek treatment for mental health issues for a number of reasons. They may not be completely aware of the extent of their problem, they may be hesitant to make contact with a mental health professional because they fear they will be stigmatized, or they may not know how to access services. Yet, overall the quality of life is greatly improved when a person with a mental health concern or problem seeks help and receives appropriate treatment from a qualified professional.
Numerous suicides and suicide attempts have been attributed to undiagnosed and/or under treated mental illness. For this reason, The Jason Foundation supports the efforts of Mental Health America and Mental Health Awareness Month. The Jason Foundation, Inc. (JFI) is a nationally recognized leader in youth suicide prevention and awareness and provides programs to all 50 states at no cost through their National Network of Affiliate Offices. The programs are designed to help the public recognize when a young person is struggling with thoughts of suicide and where they can go for help. To find your local JFI affiliate office, go to: http://jasonfoundation.com/about-us/locations/