Mental health, substance abuse and depression are often interconnected. Substance abuse is defined as excessive alcohol and/or drug consumption, which affects an individual’s mental and/or physical health. Excessive alcohol consumption is also a contributor to heart disease, some forms of cancer, risky sexual behavior, and accidents. The effects of substance abuse can cause personal abandonment from family and friends, which can result in a common mental health disorder called depression.
Mental health refers to the psychological, emotional and social well-being. Mental illnesses are disorders that affect an individual’s mood such as how he or she feels, perceives, and behaves throughout life. Mood disorders are the most common of all mental disorders and include major depression.
One in four Americans will be diagnosed with some form of mental illness in their lifetime and 17% of all Americans will suffer from depression at some point. From 2006-2012, 15% of East Baton Rouge Parish adults reported binge or heavy drinking and alcohol was involved in 35% of motor vehicle crash deaths in the parish. In 2014, 22% of individuals in East Baton Rouge Parish reported having inadequate social support. Locally, the number of mentally ill individuals in parish prison has doubled and the community is looking for solutions to decriminalize mental illness and provide individuals with the support and help they require.