Schlossberg shares personal battles while calling for end to mental health stigma

HARRISBURG, May 5 – The Pennsylvania House of Representatives today unanimously adopted a resolution authored by state Rep. Mike Schlossberg, D-Lehigh, to raise awareness about mental health issues.

"Anxiety, depression and addiction are no more about faith or weakness than a broken bone is just in somebody's mind," Schlossberg said. "One in two Americans will suffer from a mental health issue at some point in their life, but only 30 to 40 percent will seek treatment. That is why efforts like this are so important to reduce the stigma and spread the message that mental illness can be cured."

House Resolution 268 designates May 2015 as "Mental Health Awareness Month" in Pennsylvania.

"I know what it's like to feel so hopeless that depression feels like a physical weight literally weighing down upon you, making it impossible to see a brighter future or any hope. I know, all too well, the absolute and complete terror of an anxiety attack, which forces you to desperately seek escape from a threat that doesn't really exist even at the perceived risk of humiliation or scorn," Schlossberg said. "With the help of professionals I've found my way out of the darkness, as have millions of other Pennsylvania residents. There are still millions more who needlessly suffer and we must never cease in our efforts to help those people find peace."   

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, as many as one in five adults suffers from a diagnosable mental disorder in a given year. Mental health can affect individuals of any race, religion, age or economic status.

"With early identification and proper treatment, those living with mental illness can lead full, productive lives," Schlossberg said. "To all those currently dealing with a mental issue, I would tell them as long as you breath there is hope."  

If you or somebody that you know is dealing with mental health issues, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides free and confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress. The lifeline, which is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, can be reached at 1-800-273-8255.