May marks Mental Health Awareness Month

More than 200 classified forms of mental illness

Mental health case managerMedian pay: $36,100% who say their job is stressful: 96.4%As a mental health case worker in Seattle, "I have 25 years of people's stories in my (iStock)

One in five children in the United States have a serious debilitating mental disorder, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The month of May is Mental Health Awareness Month, which aims to raise awareness of the impact it can have on the emotional, physical, and mental well-being of families and communities, while also sharing information about treatment options.

One of the biggest problems surrounding mental illness is many people's reluctance to discuss the issue, according to health experts.

"In this country, we've had a hard time acknowledging that mental health concerns are real, and there shouldn't be any shame associated with that," Dr. David Chesire, of UF Health, said. "Being open and honest with your family about things like that can really help get some of the problems flushed out."

The National Institute of Mental Health defines a serious mental illness as a behavior or emotional disorder that limits one or major life activities. 

In the weeks following the deadly shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, mental health has become big topic nationwide. Florida lawmakers passed a bill in March that allows law enforcement officers to request a judge temporarily prohibit someone from possessing or buying firearms or ammunition if there's evidence the person is "mentally defective."

First Lady Melania Trump announced her new initiative, called "Be Best," on Monday. The agenda focuses on the "major issues facing children today," the first lady said during a ceremony in the White House Rose Garden. The agenda includes addressing bullying on social media, the opioid epidemic and children's "emotional, social, and physical well-being."

There are more than 200 classified forms of mental illness, according to Mental Health America. Some of the more common disorders are depression, bipolar disorder, dementia, schizophrenia and anxiety disorders. Symptoms may include changes in mood, personality, personal habits and/or social withdrawal.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a national network of local crisis centers that provides free and confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The number to call is 1-800-273-8255.

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