“We’re all in this together”: World Mental Health Day raises awareness, reduces stigma

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Instagram video courtesy of SussexRoyal

(CBS) — Today is World Mental Health Day, a day devoted to raising awareness and reducing the stigma surrounding mental illnesses including depression and anxiety disorders. In the U.S., an estimated 20% of adults experienced mental illness last year, according to the National Alliance of Mental Illness.

Prince Harry teamed up with music superstar Ed Sheeran on Instagram to promote World Mental Health Day. In the video, Prince Harry said “Reach out, make sure that your friends, strangers, look out for anybody who might be suffering in silence. We’re all in this together.”

The focus of this year’s World Mental Health Day is suicide prevention. Close to 800,000 people die due to suicide every year worldwide, according to the World Health Organization.

Dr. Leslie Heinberg, Vice Chair of the Department of Psychiatry & Psychology at the Cleveland Clinic, says “suicide is often an impulsive action.” She says people who attempt suicide and survive often express regret almost immediately, so it’s important to intervene. “The more that we act and act repeatedly we can hopefully move them past that impulsive moment back into a safe spot,” Dr. Heinberg says.

Michael C. Bryan lost his mother to suicide. He has also tried to take his own life. Bryan says, “That shame component to suicide, the shame component to depression, that feeling, it’s dreadful.” Now he helps others in crisis and says “When you’re feeling good think about how good your life is, focus on what’s good in your life because when the dark times come they won’t be as dark and they don’t last as long and that’s from direct experience.”

Bryan says for people who are at risk, remember there are people out there who have been through it and are willing to help.

CBS This Morning will broadcast a live town hall called “Stop the Stigma: A conversation about mental health,” on October 23rd. The special will feature medical professionals and a live studio audience of people affected by mental illness.

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