Bootheel Counseling Services marks?Mental Illness Awareness week
SIKESTON -- In an effort to raise awareness about mental illness, Bootheel Counseling Services is offering free depression screenings this week at its Sikeston location.
Cheryl Jones, executive director of Bootheel Counseling Services in Sikeston, said mental illnesses, such as depression, are treatable.
"Early treatment can increase a person's chance for full recovery. That is why Bootheel Counseling Services is offering free depressions screenings so that individuals who may be experiencing depression will be aware of the illness and seek professional assistance," Jones said.
Mental Illness Awareness Week is recognized the first full week of October each year and is an annual national observance that was created to acknowledge mental illnesses and the treatments.
Those who participate in the free screenings, which are by appointment only, will fill out a short survey and it will be confidential, said Jennifer Hartlein, director of fund development and public relations at Bootheel Counseling Services.
"We would let them speak with the counselors and evaluate them," Hartlein said.
Last year Bootheel Counseling offered free screenings one day during the designated week.
"We had a fairly good turnout for that one afternoon and that's one of the reasons we're offering it the entire week this year," Hartlein said.
Since 1990, mental health advocates across the country have joined together to evoke change in the Nation's mental health service through education, grassroots commitment, and action.
National events taking place this week include National Day of Prayer for Mental Illness Recovery and Understanding, which was Tuesday, and National Depression Screening Day and Bi-Polar Disorder Awareness Day on Thursday.
Jones said it's important to recognize Mental Illness Week because of the misconceptions associated with mental illness.
"By promoting Mental Illness Week we hope to decrease the stigmas associated with the disease so that more people will seek much needed help," Jones said.
Mental illness is treatable, especially with early detection, and in some cases a person can achieve full recovery, Jones said.
Mental illness can affect someone of any age, race, ethnicity, religion, education or income level, Hartlein noted. The stigma's associated with mental illness can be the biggest barriers to recovery, she said.
"If we want to become a healthy society, we must destroy the stigmas and treat mental illness like any other healthcare condition.
"For example, if a friend or family member was diagnosed with diabetes you would show compassion, concern and understanding for that individual. The same should be true when someone is diagnosed with a mental illness," Hartlein said.
The U.S. Surgeon General's report on mental health said about one in five Americans experience a mental disorder. A mental illness is any diagnosable disturbance of the mind that may interfere with normal behavior and make daily life difficult. It can limit a person's ability to live, work and participate in ones community.
Mental illness includes disorders such as depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, autism, attention deficit disorder and Alzheimer's disease.
The World Health Organization has reported that four of the 10 leading causes of disability in the United States and other developed countries are mental disorders, affecting 15 million American adults. By 2020, major depressive illness will be the leading cause of disability in the world for women and children.
"It's a lot more common than people realize and now people are becoming aware they can get help -- and they aren't ashamed to get help," Hartlein said.
Free screenings will be from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. today through Friday. Contact Bootheel Counseling Services at (573) 471-0800 to schedule a screening.