By Gary Barg, Editor-in-Chief
Here are some important facts about mental illness and recovery:
- Mental illnesses are biologically based
brain disorders. They cannot be overcome
through "will power" and are not related to a
person's "character" or intelligence.
- Mental disorders are the leading cause of
disability (lost years of productive life) in
the North America, Europe and, increasingly, in
the world. By 2020, Major Depressive illness
will be the leading cause of disability in the
world for women and children.
- Without treatment the consequences of mental
illness for the individual and society are
staggering: unnecessary disability,
unemployment, substance abuse, homelessness,
inappropriate incarceration, suicide and wasted
lives; The economic cost of untreated mental
illness is more than 100 billion dollars each
year in the United States.
- The best treatments for serious mental
illnesses today are highly effective; between 70
and 90 percent of individuals have significant
reduction of symptoms and improved quality of
life with a combination of pharmacological and
psychosocial treatments and supports;
- Early identification and treatment is of
vital importance; By getting people the
treatment they need early, recovery is
accelerated and the brain is protected from
further harm related to the course of illness.
- Stigma erodes confidence that mental
disorders are real, treatable health conditions.
We have allowed stigma and a now unwarranted
sense of hopelessness to erect attitudinal,
structural and financial barriers to effective
treatment and recovery. It is time to take these