Mental Health Awareness Month: Let’s Break the Stigma - Hannah Mittleman & Lara Schuster Effland

By Lara Schuster Effland


HOPE sign


Mental Health Awareness Month is an invitation for all of us to work together to end the stigma of mental illness — by sharing our stories about mood, depression, anxiety, traumatic stress and more.

Perhaps you have experienced mental illness — or maybe someone close to you has been affected.

It is time to stand together to increase awareness and education so that everyone knows this:

No one is alone. Help for mental illness is available.

Our mission is to build awareness of mental health issues, reduce stigma and improve detection and treatment. This is an especially important mission because mental health recovery success rates are higher when symptoms are acknowledged and treated more quickly.

Facts about mental health in the U.S.

Mood, anxiety, substance abuse, and traumatic stress disorders can develop at different stages in our lives. And, with so many recent environmental and cultural stressors (natural disasters, poverty, recessions, illness, international conflict, war, etc.), rates of mental health-related concerns have climbed. Here are some of the more common ones:

Anxiety disorders — Anxiety disorders are among the most common mental illnesses in America; over 21 percent of adults (42.5 million) are affected by these debilitating illnesses each year.

Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) — PTSD, an anxiety disorder, affects over 14 million American adults (4.4 percent of the adult population) in any given year; PTSD can occur at any age or stage in life.

Depression — Major depression is also one of the most common mental illnesses, affecting 6.7 percent (more than 16 million) of American adults each year.*

When mental illness occurs, it can make us feel isolated or out of control. We try to do all that we can to try to cope with, or compensate for, our feelings, thoughts, and urges. Sooner or later we find out that it is just too difficult to manage on our own.

Better awareness means better mental health treatment

Acceptance can be a difficult place for people affected by mental health concerns to start, so let’s encourage ourselves and our loved ones to begin with awareness and detection. Our goal here at Pathlight Behavioral Health Centers is to prepare our clients with the knowledge and skills necessary to be masterful over their struggles and disorders, and feel in control of their well-being.

We have an entire support team dedicated to answering your questions about mood, anxiety, substance abuse, and traumatic stress disorders and we know how to help.


Written by

Lara Schuster Effland, LICSW

Ms. Effland has been working in the field of eating disorders for 13 years in multiple levels of care throughout the country. Ms. Effland received her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Oberlin…