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Education is the key to advocacy. The more you know, the more you can be of service to yourself and to your community.

– According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 1 in 5 Americans struggle with their mental health and about 5 percent of Americans have suffered from such severe mental illness that it interfered with day-to-day school, work or family.

– Of Oregon’s approximately 3.8 million residents, close to 137,000 adults and about 39,000 children live with serious mental health conditions.

– The rate of mental illness is more than twice as likely in young adults (18 to 25) than people older than 50.

– Negative attitudes about mental illness often underlie stigma, which can cause affected persons to deny symptoms, delay treatment, be excluded from employment, housing, or relationships, and interfere with recovery.

– Nationally, we lose one life to suicide every 15.8 minutes. Suicide is the 11th-leading cause of death overall and is the third-leading cause of death among youth and young adults (15 to 24)

– According to the CDC, mental illness is associated with increased occurrence of chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity, asthma, epilepsy, and cancer.

– Mental illness is associated with lower use of medical care, reduced adherence to treatment therapies for chronic diseases, and higher risks of adverse health outcomes.

– Mental illness is associated with use of tobacco products and abuse of drugs and alcohol.

– Many mental health conditions can be managed successfully, and increasing access to and use of mental health treatment services could substantially reduce the associated morbidity

– Many chronic illnesses are associated with mental illnesses, and it’s been shown that treatment of mental illnesses associated with chronic diseases can reduce the effects of both and support better outcomes.

– The economic burden of mental illness in the United States is substantial—about $300 billion annually.

– According to the World Health Organization, mental illness results in more disability in developed countries than any other group of illnesses, including cancer and heart disease.

– Published reports state that nearly 50% of U.S. adults will develop at least one mental illness during their lifetime.

(Sources: World Health Organization, Center for Disease Control, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Report of the Surgeon General’s Conference on Children’s Mental Health: A National Action Agenda, National Institute of Mental Health, “Suicide in the U.S.: Statistics and Prevention,”)