Time | March 28, 2019 11:16:08When it comes to mental illness, some advocates say there’s no excuse.

    “No one wants to be the person who doesn’t believe it’s real,” says the Rev. Dr. Elizabeth Stolle, president of the National Association of Social Workers.

    “I think it’s really important to recognize that you don’t have to say no to someone because you can’t be sure it’s not real.”

    Stolle is not alone.

    Advocates say the stigma surrounding mental illness is pervasive.

    The National Alliance on Mental Illness, which represents social workers, advocates, teachers and other mental health professionals, says the stigma is part of the reason people are reluctant to seek help.

    In a 2017 study, the National Alliance found that 44 percent of adults with a diagnosis of mental illness have not been able to get help from a mental health professional.

    That number rises to 69 percent for people with severe mental illness.

    The report, titled “The Real Problem With Mental Illnesses: A Need for Better Support,” notes that many people are hesitant to seek care for fear of losing their jobs or being stigmatized for being depressed or anxious.

    “We all have a right to seek the care that we need,” says Dr. Anne-Marie Bien, director of the Institute for Mental Health and Wellbeing at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

    “It’s just a matter of finding the right place, and finding the appropriate professional to help you find that place.”

    For more information on mental illness:National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) is the nation’s largest national mental health organization.

    It works to reduce stigma, promote mental health and reduce barriers to treatment, and provide evidence-based services to people living with mental illness in communities across the country.

    For more information, visit www.nami.org.

    The National Alliance of Mental Health is a nonprofit organization with the mission to reduce barriers and improve access to mental health care.

    For media inquiries, please contact:Linda Stokes, linda[email protected], (814) 996-8111, [email protected] stories from Pittsburgh.

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