Every May of every year the conversation of mental health starts up again in conjunction with Mental Health Awareness Month.

It’s something that has been happening for the past 70 years when Mental Health America first started the initiative.

However, it’s a conversation that should never stop no matter what day of the year the calendar shows, especially with the continued stigma circling around people’s ideas of mental health issues.

“There is a stigma around mental health because people don’t recognize it as a disease like diabetes,” NAMI Guadalupe County Chapter President Barbara Vinson said. “If you get sick with diabetes or your husband has a heart attack, people run over with a casserole. And if you say, ‘My son or daughter or husband is living with a mental disorder,’ they go, ‘What? Oh, I’m so sorry’ and walk away. They don’t realize it’s a biological brain disorder.”

In fact, 1 in 5 adults in the United States deals with a mental illness while 1 in 25 adults experience a serious mental illness in any given year.

It’s important that the mental health conversations continue to occur so people can become informed on what mental health really means, what they can do to help their loved ones and how those who deal with a mental illness every single day can find help.

The negative stereotypes will not end overnight, but opening up the channel for dialogue is a good start.

Our Voice is the opinion of the editorial board of the Seguin Gazette.

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