May is Mental Health Awareness Month.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. In most cases, people with mental health conditions are already aware of what they have to face and what their treatment plan is, whether they chose
to follow it or not. It is the rest of the world that may benefit from education on mental health awareness.

The number of people facing mental health challenges is growing each day. It is almost a guarantee that you know someone who suffers from depression, anxiety or another condition that
remains well hidden from the public eye. This person could be a family member, a close friend, a neighbor, a grocery store employee, or your healthcare provider.

The question - Why in 2013 do people who are under treatment for a mental illness feel they simply can't disclose their troubles to others? The answer - Even though science has proven a majority
of mental health conditions are not preventable and certainly are not the fault of the afflicted person, there is still a stigma surrounding the words "mental illness".

For many people hearing that someone is "mentally ill" brings about images of people in straight jackets, medicated beyond functionality, housed in institutions. While a some mental health conditions
may require hospitalization and heavy medication, a vast majority of those dealing with depression, anxiety and bi-polar disorder keep it
under wraps, moving along with life to the best of their ability.

One of the biggest pieces involved in treating mental illness involves developing a stable support system. However, when you have a mental health condition, it may not be easy to talk to the
people in your life about it. In opening up about what is taking place in your life, you are putting yourself at risk of being judged, stereotyped and thought of as "crazy".

As a member of the public, please take time to educate yourself about the facts surrounding mental illness and do your best not to look down upon those you think may be dealing with an illness
they certainly would rather be without. Be supportive, not condescending, if someone opens up to you. They are reaching out to you and trusting you to be a part of their recovery. Please don't be a hindrance.