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Thu November 8, 2012
Carter Center: CDC report shows Georgians' attitudes about mental health improving
Mental health advocates at the Carter Center say a new report shows attitudes about mental health appear to be getting better in the state. But they say there’s still room for improvement. The report was produced by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other partners.
Those in the national survey were asked whether they agreed that treatment can help people with mental illness lead normal lives. Most Georgians overwhelmingly say treatment is able to aid affected individuals. 93 percent agreed slightly or strongly with the statement. Thom Bornemann is director of the mental health program at the Carter Center and says the percentage shows progress.
“The public has begun to understand that in fact for many people treatment does work for a variety of different conditions. For example, there’s improved public attitudes toward the treatment of depression and anxiety, and these are two of our most common mental health challenges.“
Respondents were also asked whether people are generally caring and sympathetic to people with mental illness. 60 percent of Georgians agreed but that was lower than the previous statement. Bornemann believes the percentage is also positive but says it proves stigma surrounding mental illness still exists.
“They may be a little more caring and sympathetic, but they might not want live next door to them, they might not want to have a family member date someone with a mental illness. It’s starting to get a bit easier, but we still have a ways to go. ”
To combat that stigma he says barriers for those with a mental illness in areas such as employment and housing still need to be addressed. Bornemann says the state has made strides in those areas in the past few years, but more progress is needed. Nationally, the report found that most U.S. adults believe treatment helps those with mental illness, but fewer agreed that people are caring and sympathetic toward those individuals.