May is Mental Health Month!

Mental Illness Impacts Us All

It’s responsible for $193.2 billion in lost earnings per year and is closely linked to homelessness, suicide, dropping out of school and incarceration. Serious mental health conditions can reduce life expectancy by an average of 25 years, largely due to treatable physical ailments.

Annually in the U.S., more than 50 million adults and adolescents experience mental illness in a given year – that’s about 20% of the population. For younger children, the incidence is around 13%. Yet less than half of those receive treatment for their condition. That’s why Carrier Clinic®, a Central Jersey behavioral health and drug rehab facility, joins mental health advocates, patients, and treatment providers across the country in observing Mental Health Awareness Month every May.

Addressing Mental Health Before Stage 4

Addressing mental health before stage 4 was 2015’s theme, but it is still relevant today. It calls attention to the importance addressing mental health symptoms early, identifying potential underlying diseases, and planning an appropriate course of action on a path towards overall health. Mental health conditions should be treated long before they reach the most critical points in the disease process—before Stage 4. Dr. David Buch, Medical Director at Carrier Clinic® says on the subject:

When we think about cancer, heart disease, or diabetes, we don’t wait years to treat them. We start before Stage 4—we begin with prevention. So why don’t we do the same for individuals who are dealing with potentially serious mental illness?

This Mental Health Month, we are encouraging everyone to learn the signs, ask for help if needed, address symptoms early, and plan an appropriate course of action on a path towards overall health.

Mental Health Screenings in New Jersey and Online

One of the quickest and easiest ways to determine whether you are experiencing symptoms of a mental health condition is to take a mental health screening. Carrier Clinic®, one of the largest non-profit mental health facilities in NJ, offers free, confidential depression and anxiety screenings at its campus in Belle Mead. Reservations are not necessary.

If you cannot make any of our mental health screenings, Mental Health America has online screening tools for depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder. MHA’s goal is to get every American screened and aware of their mental health, so they can address it #B4Stage4.

The Importance of Good Mental Health

Mental Health Month was started 66 years ago by Mental Health America, to raise awareness about mental health conditions and the importance of good mental health for everyone. According to Dr. Buch:

When feelings and emotions get overwhelming, it’s hard to know what to do. Sometimes, these early symptoms might not ever become serious. Like a cough, they often go away on their own, and are nothing to fear. But sometimes, they are a sign of something more severe and shouldn’t be ignored. Taking a screening is the first step to protect your mental health, and addressing mental illness before Stage 4.

Research shows that by ignoring symptoms, we lose ten years in which we could intervene in order to change people’s lives for the better. During most of these years, most people still have supports that allow them to succeed—home, family, friends, school, and work. Intervening effectively during early stages of mental illness can save lives and change the trajectories of people living with mental illnesses. Dr. Buch concludes:

Prevention, early identification and intervention, and integrated services work. When you address symptoms before Stage 4, people can often recover quickly, and live full and productive lives.

3 Steps Toward Better Mental Health Awareness

We invite you to take a few steps toward beating this major public health issue:

  • Education – Learn about mental illness and treatment. A good place to start is our Information Center/Resources, full of clinical papers and videos.
  • Conversation – No need to whisper! Talk openly about mental illness and treatment to fight the stigma historically associated with these all too common conditions.
  • Evaluation – Take advantage of free Mental Health Screening Tools as a first step to getting help. Visit Mental Health America’s screening tools for a variety of screening tools to get you started. Or attend one of our free anxiety and depression screenings or alcohol screenings that we hold on a monthly basis. They are confidential and no reservation is required.

For more information and education about mental illness, please visit our Resource Center or

Or learn more about the programs we offer at Carrier Clinic® for treating psychiatric conditions and drug addictions.

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