This week marks Mental Illness Awareness Week (MIAW), as established by Congress in 1990.
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), MIAW was recognized to raise mental health awareness and advocacy across the country, and to bring communities together to sponsor activities aimed at raising public education about mental illness. A few days that coincide during the week with MIAW include the National Day of Prayer for Mental Illness Recovery and Understanding (yesterday) and National Depression Screening Day (tomorrow).
Mental illnesses affect people regardless of their age, race or income. Some of these illnesses include severe depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), panic disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and borderline personality disorder.
According to NAMI, one in four adults, or approximately 61.5 million Americans, experiences some form of mental illness during a calendar year, with about 13.6 million experiencing severe mental illnesses like schizophrenia, bipolar disorder or severe depression. Another alarming statistic: mood disorders are the third most common cause of hospitalization for American adults ages 18 to 44.
Serious mental illnesses cost the American workforce about $193.2 billion in lost earnings each year, according to NAMI. Many people suffering from mental illness are eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
Someone collecting SSDI may have a mental illness that has allowed him or her to work earlier in life, but does not now. We should also note that if a person’s mental RFC (residual functional capacity) shows that he or she is able to do limited functions in a work environment, he or she may also be eligible for a medical-vocational allowance depending on his or her age, education level and job skills.
We salute awareness campaigns like MIAW, as the victims of mental illness need to have sufficient access to treatment and forms of income. If you have questions about applying for disability benefits or are unsure if you even qualify, contact a Tulsa Social Security Disability attorney. We offer free consultations, and you may reach us by phone at (918) 265-1404. Contact us today.