World Mental Health Day raises public awareness about mental health issues. The day promotes open discussion of mental disorders and investments in prevention, promotion, and treatment services. The World Health Organization’s definition of health is “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease.” Mental health is related to the promotion of well-being, the prevention of mental disorders, and the treatment and rehabilitation of people affected by mental disorders.
Prevalence and Nature
- 1 in 4 people suffers from a mental illness, roughly more than 50 million people in the U.S. More than 40 percent of the U.S. population will meet the criteria for a mental illness at some point in their lives.
- 81% of women who experienced rape, stalking or physical violence by an intimate partner reported significant short- or long-term impacts related to the violence experienced in this relationship such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) symptoms.
- Approximately 7.7 million American adults age 18 and older, or about 3.5 percent of people in this age group in a given year, have PTSD.
- Major Depressive Disorder is the leading cause of disability in the U.S. for ages 15-44.
Impact on Victims
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Major Depressive Disorder are two of the most common mental illnesses related to sexual trauma, both of which are real, but treatable illnesses. Secondary survivors of sexual violence can also be affected by mental health issues. Bad dreams, flashbacks, feeling on edge, and thoughts of hurting oneself or others are all symptoms of PTSD. Also, substance abuse and sleeping issues following an assault can bring underlying mental health issues to the surface.
How You Can Help
- Learn the facts from the National Institute of Mental Health or RAINN.
- Support survivors at the Orange County Rape Crisis Center by donating your money or your time.
How to Get Help
- If you or someone you know is experiencing sexual violence, call the Orange County Rape Crisis Center’s 24-Hour Help Line at 1-866-WE LISTEN (or 919-967-7273).
- Visit our website for resources and to learn about Rape Trauma Syndrome, a form of PTSD.
- “Fact Sheet: Effects of Sexual Assault.” Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network. <www.rainn.org/get-information/effects-of-sexual-assault>.
- “World Mental Health Day.” World Health Organization. <www.who.int/mediacentre/events/annual/world_mental_health_day/en/index.html>.