By Mary T. Bassett
May 31, 2016

May marks Mental Health Awareness Month, a time for reflection on our responsibility to conquer the stigma surrounding mental-health conditions. Although mental health issues are common and treatable, they continue to be overshadowed by silence, shame and hushed tones—often leading to inaction. This is unacceptable. Many individuals are affected by mental health—in 2014, 43.6 million adults in the U.S. had a mental illness in the past year. But an individual’s struggles are not an isolated issue. While mental illness directly affects 1 in 5 Americans, its impact extends to countless families members, co-workers and loved ones. In social terms, it affects communities, schools and the economy—mental illness is a leading cause of disability in New York City and the U.S. It is a topic of central importance to public health.