NEW YORK (CNN) – October 2 through the 8th is Mental Health Awareness Week.
During this week, experts shine a light on mental illness in our communities, in an effort to replace stigma with understanding.
Government health data shows that about one in 5 Americans live with a mental illness, about 50 million people. A mental illness may result from a traumatic experience, genetics, a life event, or a stressful job and they can impact thinking, feeling and behavior.
The most common disorders are depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety, dementia, and schizophrenia. Researchers say about half of people with chronic mental illness begin showing symptoms by the age of 14 but teenage behaviors can mask traits of various conditions.
Experts say early signs can include, pulling away from family and friends, feeling extreme highs or lows, sleeping too much or too little, feeling helpless, substance abuse and suicidal thoughts.
These disorders can be serious and require medical treatment. The key to getting better is getting educated, getting proper care and fighting the stigma.