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Northwest Salmon



May marks a special month

Dear Editor:

A few thoughts on mental health as May is mental health month. One in every five adults experiences some type of mental disorder every year. About 40 million Americans have this disease. Of this number about five percent have a serious mental illness. This disease crosses all boundaries of race and gender. As with certain medical conditions such as diabetes, some cases must be categorized as long term, severe and persistent. At least one in 20 children or as many as three million children may have a serious emotional disturbance or mental illness.

A growing body of evidence has demonstrated that most people with this illness who need treatment can be treated most effectively and at least cost in community settings. Improvement is on the way with access to services in most communities. But fewer than one third of the adults and half of the children with a mental disorder receive treatment in any one year. The public mental health system has undergone dramatic changes over the last three decades. It is a far cry from the 80s when people turned away when this disease was mentioned.

There is still the stigma of this illness that keeps many from seeking treatment and being accepted back in society again. It has been said that to be a mental patient is to wear a label that keeps you from family and friends, also from jobs and places to live. A label that says little about what you are and even less about who your are. Until our attitudes change, that’s how it will be.

Erma Knutson,


Send your letter to the editor via email to: or write to PO Box 30, Webster SD 57274. 


Fiksdal Funeral Home

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