May is Mental Health Awareness Month for the United States. The theme for 2019 is “Why Care?” The answer, “Because 1 in 5 people will be affected by mental illness in their lifetime” according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). Listed below are some facts from the World Health Organization (WHO) regarding Women’s Mental Health:
- Depressive disorders account for close to 41.9% of the disability from neuropsychiatric disorders among women compared to 29.3% among men.
- Leading mental health problems of the older adults are depression, organic brain syndromes and dementias. A majority are women.
- An estimated 80% of 50 million people affected by violent conflicts, civil wars, disasters, and displacement are women and children.
- Lifetime prevalence rate of violence against women ranges from 16% to 50%.
- At least one in five women suffer rape or attempted rape in their lifetime.
NAMI reports “half of all lifetime mental health conditions begin by age 14 and 75% by age 24, but early intervention programs can help.” We live in a society that focuses on being retroactive, waiting for something to occur before addressing an issue. One of the focuses of GEMS is to be proactive by equipping girls with the skills that increases protective factors that decreases a girl’s risk of development mental health issues in the future. And for those who have or do develop them, these skills will improve their prognosis in overcoming mental health issues. With appropriate help and early intervention, girls are resilient!
I chose to partner with GEMS as I am “That Girl.” I am the girl who was sexually abused as a child. I am that girl who struggled with depression and anxiety. I am that girl who survived domestic violence. I am also that girl who chose to be an advocate for others. I am that girl who chose to enter the mental health field to treat, prevent, and advocate for other girls. And I am that girl who is choosing to stand with GEMS!
Not only do I care, but I choose to act! I encourage others to support this amazing organization who is striving to reach out to assist all girls. Join us as we are on a mission of prevention and resiliency!