Recent tragedies in the media, as well as a movie nominated for several Oscars, have put a spotlight on mental illness. For many, the stigma of mental illness prevents those suffering from this disorder in seeking help. Yet, counseling experts agree that awareness, early diagnosis, and treatment can help those living with mental illness such as bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and depression.
According to The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), mental illness is a medical condition that disrupts a person’s thinking, feeling, mood, ability to relate to others and daily functioning. Just as diabetes is a disorder of the pancreas, mental illnesses are medical conditions that often result in a diminished capacity for coping with the ordinary demands of life. Serious mental illnesses include major depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), panic disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and borderline personality disorder.
Actor Bradley Cooper has been in the news recently helping to “advance a national dialogue” and awareness about mental illness. In the movie, Silver Linings Playbook, Cooper plays a young man living with bipolar disorder and the family dynamics surrounding the path his life has taken including the ending of his marriage, and losing his job and house. NAMI describes this movement and its importance in making resources available to those suffering with mental illness. View the article here.
On CBS Evening News, young Zac Pogliano describes how for over a year he heard “voices” and was afraid to tell his mother because “no one wants a crazy person,” delaying him in seeking help and treatment for what was later diagnosed as schizophrenia. Read and view his story here.
The New York Times Opinion Page highlights letters to the Editor regarding “Treating the Mentally Ill” – view the discussion here.
NAMI notes that “the good news about mental illness is that recovery is possible.”
If you think that someone you love may be suffering from mental illness, don’t be afraid to seek help. Ask your doctor or a health care provider for information and assistance. You can also learn about local and national resources by visiting the NAMI website or Mental Health America of San Diego County’s website.