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Spotlight's on mental illness and how it doesn't discriminate

Chances are that most people have either suffered from mental illness or at least know someone who has. Conditions like depression, mood disorders, etc. impact people of all demographics. According to research, however, not all people are equally likely to seek the medical help that they might need when faced with mental struggles.

July was recently proclaimed to be National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month. The National Alliance on Mental Health reports, "...stigma has a greater impact in communities of color," when it comes to mental illness. Few people want to admit that they are clinically depressed. They don't want their friends and family to think that they are weak or that they aren't grateful for the good in their lives. And based on numbers, it would appear that minority communities are most paralyzed by those worries.

President Obama recently made a speech about how the nation needs to focus on destigmatizing mental health in order to create a place where people are comfortable enough to admit that they might need help. Awareness can lead to treatment, and treatment can save lives.

Medical help can also create a life that is easier to live. Mental illness such as anxiety and depression can definitely make it difficult or impossible for someone to work. That difficulty makes for financial stress that can take a further toll on a person's health.

Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income can help those with mental disabilities get by financially. However, they need to see a medical professional and be diagnosed with a mental illness before they have any chance at receiving any sort of payments. The trend of minority groups not seeking help, therefore, could also be contributing to situations of financial insecurity that might be at least partially preventable.

A doctor's diagnosis is usually not even enough to definitely secure benefits for someone struggling with a disability. The aggressive help from a disability claims lawyer can also become important for those trying to be approved for benefits.


St. Louis Post-Dispatch, "July is National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month," July 8, 2013

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