The medical supplement, Health Advocate 2004, in the Oct. 19 paper contained very informative and interesting articles on several major physical illnesses and wellness tips. I am puzzled, however, that no mention is made of the fact that mental health is key to overall physical health. The World Health Organization identified mental illness as the leading cause of disability worldwide, accounting for nearly 25 percent of all disability across major industrialized countries.
We must address mental health with the same urgency as physical health, but we must overcome the undeserved stigma attached to these illnesses so people will seek help. The stigma is primarily responsible for the fact that only one out of two people with a serious form of mental illness seeks treatment for the disorder. The vast majority of all people who die by suicide have a mental illness - often undiagnosed or untreated. Suicide is the second leading cause of death among 25 to 34 year olds, third among those between 15 and 24, and fourth among youth aged 10 to 14. Teen suicide has tripled for those 15 to 19 since the 1950s.