To Our Fellow Democrats –
During our county party meeting on April 12, 2018, we, the Genesee County Democratic Party, passed a motion to recognize May as Mental Health Awareness Month. The Genesee County Democratic Party is also asking the Michigan Democratic Party and membership to recognize May as Mental Health Awareness Month due to the following:
The statistics – More than 1 in 5 Americans are affected by a mental illness with nearly 1 in 25 adults living with a serious mental illness. Around 25% of adults who are homeless have an underlying mental illness. Approximately 24% of recently incarcerated adults have had “a recent history of a mental health condition”. 90% of those who died by suicide had an underlying mental health illness. 
The consequences and impacts of having a mental illness can be devastating. Often, those who suffer and live with a mental illness deal with addictions such as alcoholism and drug abuse, loss of jobs and income, increasing debt, loss of friends and family, serious medical costs, and hospitalizations.
Due to the rising costs of treatment, medications, and lack of services available to the vast majority of those living with a mental illness, many do not receive the proper help they need. In addition, the stigma in society surrounding mental illness leads those affected to not seek treatment.
“Research suggests that the majority of people hold negative attitudes and stereotypes towards people with mental illness. From a young age children will refer to others as “crazy” or “weird”; these terms are used commonly throughout adulthood as well. Often the negative stereotypes involve perceptions that people with mental illness are dangerous. This perception is fueled by media stories that paint violent perpetrators as “mentally ill” without providing the context of the broad spectrum of mental illness.” 
This is why it is imperative that all who live with a mental illness have the proper access to treatments, medications, and facilities that specialize in mental health. This is why it is imperative that the de-stigmatization of having a mental illness starts from coming together, learning about mental illness in order to promote awareness, and creating adequate facilities and resources for the mentally ill.
The following organizations offer many services and help for both the mentally ill and family members:
Mental Health America: http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net
National Alliance on Mental Illness: https://www.nami.org
Project Semicolon: https://projectsemicolon.com
 Statistics are from: https://www.nami.org/NAMI/media/NAMI-Media/Infographics/GeneralMHFacts.pdf “The Stigma of Mental Illness Is Making Us Sicker”, Psychology Today, by Michael Friedman, Ph.D.: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/brick-brick/201405/the-stigma-mental-illness-is-making-us-sicker