Mental Health Month, recognized in May, provides an opportunity to bring awareness to and de-stigmatize mental health conditions. Throughout 2018, including Mental Health Month, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) is promoting the theme #CureStigma. One in five Americans is affected by mental health conditions. Stigma may not directly affect you, but it prevents the 1 in 5 Americans with mental health conditions from seeking help. Stigma creates an environment of shame, fear, and silence. The perception of mental illness won’t change unless we act to change it. We invite you to visit NAMI’s Mental Health Month page to get the facts, find resources, and share your story.
Ageist Misconceptions about Older Adults and Mental Health
This month also brings to focus the importance of trauma-aware interactions with victims. For older victims who seem confused or overwhelmed, start by offering food, rest, and an opportunity to talk about the harm they have experienced. Consider the possibility that they may be under or overmedicated and may need to contact a health care provider. Do not automatically assume that an older adult has dementia. If you have concerns about cognitive capacity, work with other professionals to determine next steps while maintaining victim confidentiality.