Assemblymember Simotas is Raising Awareness of Serious Mental Health Disorders

New York State Assemblymember Aravella Simotas. Photo: NYS Assembly

NEW YORK – Assemblymember Aravella Simotas is working  to raise awareness of two serious mental health disorders affecting millions of Americans  that are frequently misunderstood and often go untreated – Borderline Personality Disorder and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. To further her goal, the Astoria legislator authored two New York State Assembly Resolutions that memorialize the month of May as Borderline Personality Disorder Awareness Month in New York State and the month of June as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Month in New York State. Both were adopted by the Assembly.

“There are people living every day with these devastating mental disorders and they deserve our compassion and support. Increasing education and public awareness is crucial to expanding access to treatment and helping people gain relief from heartbreaking symptoms and gain happiness and fulfillment in their lives,” said Assemblymember Simotas.

The resolution on Borderline Personality Disorder, adopted by the Assembly on June 20, notes that the condition affects an estimated 6% of adults, approximately 14 million Americans, yet under-diagnosis and misperceptions delay or prevent treatment and recovery. Those with the disorder who do not get treatment are more likely to develop additional chronic physical illness.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) frequently affects those who serve in the military, victims of child abuse, intimate partner violence and physical and sexual assault. Without proper treatment PTSD sufferers can experience high rates of intense anxiety, depression, suicide, substance abuse and homelessness. The Assembly resolution was adopted on June 15, 2017.

Simotas noted that she voted “yes” on a mental health education bill, sponsored by Assemblymember Catherine Nolan, which requires all schools with health education programs to include “mental health and the relation of physical and mental health so as to enhance student understanding, attitudes and behaviors that promote health, well-being and human dignity.” The Nolan bill was signed into law by the governor on February 1, 2017.