May is National Health Awareness Month and the state head of the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill, wants Hoosiers to know how prevalent mental illness is.
Joshua Sprunger, executive director of NAMI Indiana, says while one in 17 Hoosiers are currently coping with a serious mental illness, like schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or post-traumatic stress syndrome, one out of every four of us will experience a mental health challenge at some point in our lifetime, "It may not be debilitating symptoms or needing hospitalization or medication but many people go through some mental health challenge so making it comfortable for people to talk about the things that they themselves or their family members are going through is really important."
Sprunger says most mental illnesses are biological and treatable, and medication and therapy can help people recover. May is Mental Health Awareness Month and he says it provides an opportunity to open up conversations about mental illness to ensure those who need help are getting it when and where they need it.
Sprunger stresses that recovery is possible, and often takes a combination of resources starting with treatment from a primary care provider, or psychologist, "Often times that’s psycho-social therapy, different kinds of medications and also connections with case management services in the community and also being involved with support groups."
He adds that in Indiana there are gaps in support, with about just a half of those who need treatment getting it, "When we talk about closing the treatment gap, that is getting help to people who may not know where to go, we really ask many of our community leaders whether it be government sector, business sector, nonprofit sector to consider additional investment."
Sprunger encourages anyone who is concerned about their mental health to reach out to a physician, or local mental health center to be connected with resources and treatment opportunities.