Approximately 1 in 5 Americans struggles with mental health problems. About 40% receive mental health services. The most recent statistics show that 22 veterans commit suicide every day. The suicide rate has risen in every branch of the military. This year brought tragedy in the form of almost one mass shooting every month. Each shooting sparked national conjecture and debate about the mental health of the shooter. This may have spurred President Obama to address the issues of mental health stigma and coverage on June 3rd. The President was clear in his message that most people with mental illness are not violent; in fact, they are more likely to be victims of violence rather than perpetrators.
In his speech President Obama encouraged the nation to “bring mental illness out of the shadows.” He pointed out that our culture now speaks fairly openly about personal health issues (e.g. impotence, incontinence), yet the topic of mental illness still elicits such shame and embarrassment that it is often considered taboo and is ignored, making mental health problems hard to identify and even harder to treat.