Mental Health Awareness Month

  • Published: Saturday, May 1, 2021

May is Mental Health Awareness month. But every day, millions of trained Mental Health First Aiders are listening and providing reassurance and information to friends, co-workers and family who are struggling with mental health challenges. The phrase #YouAreNOTAlone helps to reduce the stigma and shame that still surrounds mental health issues. The truth is, mental health challenges are more common than you might think. In fact, mental health and substance use challenges can take many forms. Some challenges are more visible and you might recognize them immediately. Others can be harder to see when you’re not looking for them. But they are still there.

These statistics provide a look at how many people face a mental health or substance use challenge, whether we see it or not:

  • 828,000 adults in Missouri have a mental health condition. That’s more than 3 times the population of St. Louis.
  • Only about 4 in 10 people in Missouri with a mental health condition received any treatment in the past year.
  • 1 out of every 8 emergency room visits involves a mental health or substance use condition.
  • 50% of all mental illness begins by age 14, and 75% by age 24.
  • 1 American dies by suicide every 12 minutes. In Missouri, the 2016 rate was 21.8 deaths per 100,000. For veterans, the rate was 39.3 deaths by suicide per 100,000.

How to get help

Recovery is possible, and help is available. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24/7 and provides free and confidential support for people in distress; prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones; and best practices for professionals.

How you can help

Get trained in Mental Health First Aid today. As a trained First Aider, you will be able to identify, understand and respond to signs of mental illnesses and substance use disorders in your community. You can #BeTheDifference.


Writer: Amy Bartels

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