Health Advocacy Campaign

Topics: Mental illness, Mental disorder, Medicine Pages: 9 (3000 words) Published: December 27, 2014

Health Advocacy Campaign: Fighting Mental Illnesses one Day at A Time Millions of American’s are affected by mental health illnesses. As a nurse I understand that mental health illnesses have no respect of person. The National Alliance on Mental Illness reported that approximately 61.5 million Americans are affected by mental illness in a given year, and almost 13.6 million individuals live with a serious mental illness such as schizophrenia, depression, or bipolar disorder (National Alliance on Mental Illness, 2013). Further, data revealed that 20 percent of youth ages 13 to 18 years old have experienced severe mental disorders within a given year, and about 13 percent of these populations are pediatrics patients that range between the ages of ages 8 to 15 years old. The United States spends nearly $193.2 billion per year on mental health diseases (NAMI, 2013) proving that mental health illnesses are a major public health concern. Crises around the world have caused a greater shift in the efforts to promote wellness within communities. Public health priorities are more geared towards communities working together to combat the devastating tragedies that continue to affect many schools and communities within the United States. It has been estimated that by the year 2020 depression will be the second largest killer, and many communities and schools have already begin to experience the horrific repercussions. Therefore, the purpose of this paper is to develop a health advocacy campaign that will more readily identify mental health illnesses as well as explore realistic methods to promote policies as well as improve community health outcomes. Population Health Issue and Population Affected

Depression is a chronic medical condition that affects the way in which individuals feel, think, and behave. At some time in every individuals life sadness will be experienced; however, depression is far more serious. Depression is a lifelong disorder that requires ongoing medical treatment. Yearly, depression affects approximately 9.5 percent of the United States adult population, but the pediatric population has recently been identified as the fastest growing population diagnosed with clinical depression (Uplift Program, 2004). Research has found that depression stems from trauma, stressful life situations, and environmental exposures. Even though genetics may be a factor, depression episodes are usually trigged by some type of upsetting or traumatic event. The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) estimates that approximately 11 percent of adolescents are diagnosed with a depressive disorder by age of 18 years old (National Institute of Mental Health, 2014), which seems quite alarming because depression is not easily recognized in pediatric populations. Although, if close attention is paid changes can be noted in general interaction with peers such as: increased irritability, anger, aggression, social isolation, and low self-esteem. Most recently there have been an increasing number in school shootings. Although, all the shooters except one have committed suicide the assumed causes have been linked to some type of traumatic stressful situation such as bullying or exposure to afflicted violence. Research completed by psychiatrist Meena Vythilingam found that extreme stress and trauma has effects on portions of the brain leading to improper functioning of the body’s memory and control of emotions. ( cite article ) When mental illnesses are left untreated serious impairment in daily functioning occurs. Therefore, early screenings and treatments in pediatric populations are essential. Nature Neuroscience  5, 1242 - 1247 (2002)

Published online: 15 October 2002; | doi:10.1038/nn958
Smaller hippocampal volume predicts pathologic vulnerability to psychological trauma Mark W. Gilbertson1, 2, Martha E....
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