In the midst of this prosperity, Travis County is also experiencing an increase
in the number of people who suffer from mental illness. An estimated 151,842
adults, ages 18-64, in Travis County have a mental disorder in any given year.
Some feel guilty or ashamed, and many do not seek treatment for disorders that
are more common than cancer, diabetes, heart disease, or arthritis. Mental
illness or neurobiological disorders can be effectively managed and treated. Friends
and family members need to know what warning signs to look out for so they
can help prevent or reduce the numbers of suicides in our community. The answers
are complex. Many complex words and concepts must be considered such as: culture,
stigma, discrimination, disparities, access, myths, fear, crime, funding, bereavement,
misunderstanding, and stress.
The first ever Surgeon General's Report on Mental Health (published by the
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services [USDHHS] 1999) promulgated a wealth
of significant scientific research information on brain disorders and opportunities
to improve the mental health of our community. Despite these opportunities,
persons with mental disorders in Travis County may experience trouble accessing
services, stigma related to mental illness, difficulties with substance use
disorders, and various other barriers. They need wellness and prevention programs,
and/or intervention services (USDHHS, 1999).
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