According to the Awareness Network, an estimated 150,000 Montanans live with an anxiety disorder. To put that into perspective, that’s 1-in-5 Montana adults. Most of those people will not seek help. In fact, the Awareness Network reports that 100,000 people in Big Sky Country will not seek treatment for their anxiety disorder.Why are so many people not seeking help? TheAwareness Network, a Montana-based nonprofit, says it’s because of stigma and fear of stigma. “Too many people aren’t educated when it comes to the symptoms of and treatments for anxiety disorders,” they say.
What is an anxiety disorder? The most common anxiety disorders are Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), Panic Disorder, and Social Anxiety Disorder. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, “Anxiety disorders involve more than temporary worry or fear. For a person with an anxiety disorder, the anxiety does not go away and can get worse over time. These feelings can interfere with daily activities such as job performance, school work, and relationships.”
The Awareness Network wants to tackle anxiety disorders and make sure everyone seeks treatment. The first step in that fight is to normalize anxiety disorders. “The trust is that anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the United States and in Montana,” says the Awareness Network’s President. “By helping suffers, their friends, and their families understand the symptoms and frequency of anxiety disorders, we can encourage people to seek help, challenge feelings of shame, and eradicate stigma.”
The Awareness Network is already working hard to educate Montanans about anxiety disorders.
You can learn more about the Awareness Network and its mission at AwarenessNetwork.org