May is mental health month, and building awareness of the many people affected by mental health issues is key to gain access to effective treatment. Around 60 million Americans are diagnosed with a mental health condition each year. The vast majority of these conditions are treatable. However, the National Institute of Mental Health estimates that as few as 25 percent of those with mental health conditions actually seek treatment. 

With a treatment plan in place, returning to good mental health is a real possibility, empowering people to handle life’s challenges and live life to the fullest.

Depression is of particular concern as we age, and is not a normal part of the aging process. Depression often accompanies major illness and injuries and can also be brought on by major life changes, the loss of a loved one, or an inability to engage in favorite activities. Depression and other mental health conditions can also affect caregivers. Regardless how old you are, your health, both mental and physical, is important. 

Taking the first step can be difficult but there are services and programs to assist you. Getting help from a health care or mental health professional is often necessary. 

Council on Aging Silicon Valley can connect you and your loved ones with the numerous resources available within Santa Clara County. Existing organizations that focus on services to assist those with a wide variety of mental health concerns are available. In addition, there are numerous free or low-cost clinics.

For more information on these and other resources for mental health, contact Information & Assistance at (408) 350-3200, option 1.