We have older adult mental health awareness day, mental health days companies are gifting to employees, a dedicated week for children’s mental health acceptance week, and May is mental health awareness month among numerous critical awareness days so there is no secret that our nation faces many systematic issues that intersect with mental health. Mental health is an increasing concern for all and for our older adults and like many organizations, we see the imperative need to bring mental health into our daily initiatives centered on supporting our limb loss and limb difference community members.
The Amputee Coalition closed out April celebrating our signature Limb Loss and Limb Difference Month with our theme “Inspire to Elevate” and the heart for what we do not only happens in April but daily year-round to ensure our community is seen. No amputee alone is a key tenant. As we focus on mental health disparities that we face as a community, where do we go from here? For us the way forward is partnership. You will consistently hear from me through our AC News Flash video messages and messages from the CEO in our editorial magazine and blogs alongside many grassroots and national organizations that align with the work we are committed to.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “Depression is one of the leading causes of disability, and approximately 15% of adults aged 60 and over suffer from a mental disorder.” We know that we are stronger together even as we face these realities. The Amputee Coalition knows that there are over 4 million Americans living with limb loss and limb difference and barriers in access to care, employment, the policy and legislation at our nation’s capital, housing, and healthcare among many variables are all areas we are dedicated to advocacy so our community will not suffer in silence.
Every one of our Amputee Coalition community members has their own unique story and journey that brought them to our community and the Amputee Coalition has a new vision. A world where our community thrives with a mission to support, educate, and advocate for people impacted by limb loss and limb difference. We know that the pathway to emotional recovery can be difficult no matter if you are born with limb loss and/or limb difference or are an amputee. Each individual journey undertakes a variety of struggles and triumphs, yet we can all come together in partnership to elevate one another.
We want to acknowledge and thank the work that the National Council on Aging (NCOA) and the Administration for Community Living (ACL), the Health Resources and Services Administration, and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has done and their commitment specifically to bringing awareness to Older Adults Mental Health Awareness Day.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, “Among people 50 and older, 14.5% are living with a mental health issue such as an anxiety disorder, depression, or a substance use problem.” In 2018, there were 52 million people age 65 and older, according to the Census Bureau’s Vintage Population Estimates. And according to the United States Census Bureau, “approximately 75 million Americans will be over age 65 by 2030.”
You will continue to hear me lead by saying: partnership is the way forward, and organizations like RetireSafe whose mission is to promote and protect the well-being, independence, and rights of seniors through advocacy and education actively at the forefront for our aging populations is critical as we see our population age. “We know that partnership alignment like our friends at the Amputee Coalition who are a voice to millions is vital in the work we all do together. The Amputee Coalition’s willingness to advocate for the intersectionality of partnering organizations is key to how we make a stronger voice in our nation for all,” said Mark Gibbons, RetireSafe, President and CEO.
The Amputee Coalition continues to understand the gravity of being the leading organization representing the limb loss and limb difference community, which is why we continue creating opportunities to partner with grassroots and national partners across the country. During this month and moving forward please know that the Amputee Coalition sees you and we are here to support you. Please stay connected with the Amputee Coalition at www.amputee-coalition.org.