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Mental health takes center stage

May 14, 2011|By Shari Roan, Los Angeles Times / For the Booster Shots blog
  • Help is available for people with mental illness -- especially this month.
Help is available for people with mental illness -- especially this month. (iStockphoto.com )

Looking for help and information with mental health issues should be a bit easier this month -- May is Mental Health Month.

-- According to a Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration 2009 survey, about 20% of people ages 18 and older reported having a diagnosable mental illness in the previous year. The number of people admitted for treatment of psychiatric problems or substance abuse problems more than doubled between 1992 and 2006. At that rate, mental and substance use disorders will surpass all physical diseases as the major cause of disability worldwide by 2020, according to SAMHSA.

Resources on mental health can be found at SAMSHA.

-- The organization Mental Health America is emphasizing the ability of people with mental illness to lead "full and productive lives" -- as well as the need for everyone to strive for better mental wellness. For information, go to MHA.

-- The National Alliance on Mental Illness says a new survey shows improvements are needed in primary care settings, where children and teens with mental illness are often seen. With a nationwide shortage of child and adolescent psychiatrists, pediatricians and primary-care doctors are seeing more patients with mental-health needs. But in the survey, 59% of families said their primary-care doctors were not knowledgeable about mental health.

According to NAMI, here are five helpful things a doctor can say to families seeking care:
-- There is hope
-- You are not alone
-- It's not your fault
-- I understand
-- Your child has many strengths

-- New research on treatment of mental health disorders will be the focus of the annual meeting of the American Psychiatric Assn., Saturday through Wednesday, in Honolulu. Check Booster Shots each day for updates from the meeting or find reports on Twitter.

Related:Catherine Zeta-Jones is treated for bipolar II disorder. What is it?

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