May is Mental Health Awareness Month. One in four people in our community live with a diagnosable, treatable mental health condition. When working with clients who have been sexually assaulted it is hard not to see the correlation between sexual assault and mental health. Nationally 10% of children are sexually abused and when you consider 88% of cases are unreported these numbers are staggering. People who suffer from some mental health conditions are at a greater risk of sexual assault and those who are sexually assaulted are at a greater risk of having mental health issues.
Those who experience sexual assault in their life time may experience:
• Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
• Dissociative Disorders
• Anxiety Disorders
• Eating Disorders
• Substance Abuse
Although, there may be those who fear the correlation due to the “stigma” attached to both mental health and sexual assault it is undeniable. Let’s embrace this knowledge and move forward knowing you can heal from both. Mental health can be cured and managed. Sexual assault victims can become survivors.
Take a moment this month to learn more about mental health; read a book, join a cause, make a donation, visit an organization, volunteer. We do not need to hide from mental health or sexual assault – be a part of the change!