Tag Archives: military members

Mental Illness Awareness Week

Mental Illness Awareness Week

This week on social media, we gave you some staggering facts and information on mental health for Mental Illness Awareness Week and Suicide Prevention Awareness Month.

  • 1 in 4 adults, 61.5 million Americans, experiences mental illness in a given year. One in 17, about 13.6 million, live with a serious illness such as schizophrenia, depression, or bipolar disorder. With statistics like those, you probably know someone suffering.
  • Approximately 20% of kids ages 13-18 experience severe mental disorders in a given year.
  • 70% of the youths in juvenile justice systems have at least one mental health condition, and 20% live with a severe mental illness.
  • Approximately 1.1% of American adults, or 6.1 million people, live with bipolar disorder.
  • Approximately 6.7% of American adults, or about 14.8 million people, live with major depression.
  • 18.1% of American adults, or 42 million people live with anxiety disorders such as panic disorder, OCD, PTSD, and phobias.
  • About 9.2 million adults have reoccurring mental health and addiction disorders.
  • 26% of homeless adults live with serious mental illness, and 46% live with severe mental illness and/or substance abuse disorders.
  • Approximately 20% of state prisoners and 21% of local jail prisoners have a “recent history” of mental health conditions.
  • Approximately 60% percent of adults and half the youth with a mental illness got no help for it in the last year.
  • Mood disorders like depression are the 3rd most common cause of hospitalization in the U.S. for both youths and adults.
  • Serious mental illness costs America $193.2 billion in lost earnings per year.
  • Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S. above homicide, and the 3rd leading cause of death for ages 15 to 24.
  • Military members are less than 1% of the population, but vets represent 20% of suicide. Each day 22 vets die from suicide.

You can help, and you can get help.

Honoring a Veteran

Vantage Point: Serving Those Who Served Us

“Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty.  – John F. Kennedy

I have three sons who served in the armed services, one who is still an active-duty Marine. Every word of that quote means a tremendous amount to my family. We understand how the rigors, values and experiences of serving in the military shape a life. What I did not realize—until talking with Patti Strawn, RN, CHPN, of Central Washington Home Health and Hospice—was how that service influences how a veteran faces serious illness and the end of life.

There are currently 22 million U.S. veterans, and 1 of every 4 people who dies is a veteran. 20% of Confluence Health hospice patients are veterans, and understanding how to care for them seems the least we can do to repay them for their service.

A friend is a Vietnam vet, and even when going out for dinner he always chooses a seat facing the room and an exit. Many veterans cannot stand the thought of laying flat, and for some it takes a long time just to get into bed because of feelings of being trapped or confined.

Imagine that person in a nursing home, hospital, or hospice situation.

Each veteran’s needs are unique and can be influenced by a number of factors, like which war they fought in, rank, branch, enlisted or drafted, prisoner of war and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. For some veterans, the pride of serving their country is a source of comfort at the end of life. For others, hard memories may bring up pain, emotional issues, and the need for forgiveness. The military culture of stoicism, “big boys don’t cry” and guilt for making it back when others did not can also present hurdles—especially when the inability to express those long-hidden feelings prevents a peaceful passing.

It is never too late to welcome a hero home. In celebration of Memorial Day, Health Alliance Medicare encourages you to honor veterans still with us by acknowledging their brave and selfless service, and by encouraging them to register with their local Veterans Affairs (VA) office. The VA works to make sure every single veteran has compassionate end-of-life care.

Visit WeHonorVeterans.org for additional information or resources.