Mental Health America of Pueblo

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The Surgeon General of the United States confirmed in 1999 what most of us already knew—that mental illnesses are real, common, and (most importantly), treatable. Although 23% of American adults suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder in any given year, less than half of them receive treatment, even though the treatment success rate for mental illness is as high as 80%. When mental illness is left untreated, a host of social ills can follow, including homelessness, incarceration, substance abuse, loss of productivity at school and work or even suicide.

More than you might guess, some public figures openly admit that they have been diagnosed with a mental illness, giving new hope to individuals who may either be unaware or embarrassed to admit that they have a problem. In 1999, Mike Wallace (now well into his 80s) admitted that he suffered from clinical depression for many years and is grateful for the antidepressant he takes daily which allows him to lead a rich and full life. We now know that mental illness such as depression, when left untreated, can lower a person’s immunity to other physical diseases, can lead to an increase in alcohol consumption, or can contribute to parental negligence and violent behaviors.
 

It has been estimated that by 2020 mental illness could be the second largest cause of disability in the world. When the stigma of mental illness is removed and people seek treatment as readily for their depression as they do for heart disease, perhaps we can bring this disease fully into the light, increase treatment and enhance favorable outcomes. Clearly, openness, education, and public awareness of mental illnesses are the building blocks to meet that goal.

Mental Health America-Pueblo was formed in 2000 as a 501 (c) (3) organization and is a member of Mental Health America and Mental Health America-Colorado. MHA-Pueblo is strictly a volunteer organization comprised of a volunteer Board of Directors with individuals and agencies in the Pueblo community who are members of MHA-Pueblo. 

The mission of Mental Health America of Pueblo is to eliminate the stigma of mental illness and to increase access to treatment through education, advocacy, and assessing community needs.
 

The Story of Our Symbol - The Mental Health Bell
 

Cast from shackles which bound them, this bell shall ring out hope for the mentally ill and victory over mental illness.

          —Inscription on the Mental Health Bell
 

During the early days of mental health treatment, asylums often restrained people who had mental illnesses with iron chains and shackles around their ankles and wrists. With better understanding and treatments, this cruel practice eventually stopped. 
 

In the early 1950s, Mental Health America issued a call to asylums across the country for their discarded chains and shackles. On April 13, 1956, at the McShane Bell Foundry in Baltimore, Md., Mental Health America melted down these inhumane bindings and recast them into a sign of hope: the Mental Health Bell. 
 

Now the symbol of Mental Health America, the 300-pound Bell serves as a powerful reminder that the invisible chains of misunderstanding and discrimination continue to bind people with mental illnesses. Today, the Mental Health Bell rings out hope for improving mental health and achieving victory over mental illnesses. 
 

Over the years, national mental health leaders and other prominent individuals have rung the Bell to mark the continued progress in the fight for victory over mental illnesses. 

© 2019 by MHA-Pueblo

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