Milwaukie pledges to reduce mental illness stigma
Recognizing that "stigma and the resulting discrimination is a primary obstacle to early identification and effective treatment of individuals with mental illness," Milwaukie City Council unanimously declared Mental Health Awareness Month.
City Councilor Angel Falconer brought the proclamation declaring May as Mental Health Awareness Month. The May 21 action was co-presented to elected officials by Gary Marschke of National Alliance on Mental Illness Clackamas and Police Chief Luke Strait.
"As the new chief, I look forward to collaborating with NAMI Clackamas to ensure that we are consistently doing the best we can when dealing with people with mental health issues in our community," Strait said.
Marschke shared that while 1 in 5 people will face a mental health challenge in any given year, "stigma" is a major reason why treatment for mental illness is delayed well past when symptoms first occur.
"Largely because of the stigma and resulting discrimination, people with mental health issues delay seeking treatment for an average of six months... and often for many years," he said.
He added, "The good news is that once they seek treatment, the recovery rate is better that that for cancer or heart disease. And stigma is completely curable!"
As it was approved by the entire council, Mayor Mark Gamba read the proclamation, and the Marschke presented the councilors with official NAMI Walk T-shirts commemorating the successful completion of the 17th annual NAMI Walk NW on May 19.
"Let's make every month Mental Health Month," Marschke concluded.