A growing recognition of the fact that “mental health is fundamental to a person’s overall health, indispensable to personal well-being and instrumental to leading a balanced and productive life” likely contributes to the fact that about 15% of our country’s population now use some form of mental health services in any given year. Nonetheless, despite effective treatments, according to Dr. Satcher’s 1999 Surgeon General’s Mental Health report, “Nearly half of all Americans who have a severe mental illness fail to seek treatment”. The fact that nearly one in five Americans are affected by a mental disorder, reinforces the understanding that “few Americans are untouched by mental illness”, whether directly or indirectly.
Clinical anxiety and clinical depression are real, treatable conditions that interfere with a person’s overall well-being and ability to do many of the things that they would otherwise enjoy. A suffer of clinical depression can no more “snap out of it,” than a person suffering from a seizure has the will-power to stop taking a seizure.
Mental illnesses range from clinical anxiety and depression to Alzheimer’s disease and schizophrenia. Anxiety disorders, the most common form of mental illness, affect more than 10% of Americans yearly. Almost 25% of Americans will suffer an anxiety disorder at some point in their lives. Every May, thousands of sites throughout the country offer free, local anxiety screenings, as part of National Anxiety Disorders Screening Day. Each October, national sites off free screenings for depression, as part of National Depression Screening Day.