Saturday, October 1, 2011


Beginning tomorrow, October 2, Americans are marking Mental Illness Awareness Week. The event runs through October 9th.

According to an American study, 1 in 17 people (about six per cent of the population) live with a mental illness such as bipolar disorder, major depression, and schizophrenia, yet "many of these individuals and their families don't know where to turn for mental health resources and support." The research was one by an American Disability Service company, Allsup.

The poster for the week has the toll-free National Alliance on Mental Illness HelpLine, which is 1-800-950-NAMI (6264). The HelpLine is open Monday through Friday from 10 am to 6 pm Eastern Time.

The free posters are available for download or mail at Allsup's Web site. (The poster for Mental Health Awareness Week is close to the bottom of the Allsup page on the web site.)

As some of you know already, Bear has lived with chronic depression since his teens. I haven't talked a whole lot about it in the past, but now some conversation seems appropriate.

Who knows if a poster, perhaps in your work place, or church, or community centre, might help someone.

Blessings and Bear hugs, folks.


potsoc said...

If posters could change mentalities it would be marvelous. Anyway they do contribute to making people aware of the problem.
Keep on fighting.

Karen Jones Gowen said...

This is such a serious problem, I feel for anyone who struggles with mental illness in any form.

Rob-bear said...

® potsoc: Well, the poster has a phone number for help. But if the poster could even spark a little thoughtful conversation, that would be good.
Thanks, Paul.

® KarenG: Thanks. Not an easy life. But made better by good friends. "We get by with a little help from our friends."

betty said...

NAMI does a wonderful job on mental illness awareness, etc. Good to get the word out like this. In addition, it would be nice (if it was a perfect world) that when one takes the steps to get help, they get help sooner than later. Where I used to live in Montana (haven't had the need to check out these types of services where I live now), there were not that many psychiatrists and it could take weeks to get an appointment. Oftentimes general doctors would prescribe something just to get the patient feeling better until they could get in to a psychiatrist, but my practitioner sometimes felt uncomfortable prescribing, not knowing exactly what she was dealing with and preferred people to see a specialist. It can be frustrating to want help, know you need help, yet not find that help (daughter had LOTS of struggles with depression, suicidal thoughts, suicide attempts, etc).

But it is good to get the message out!


Frances said...

You are a kind and caring Bear to share information across the airways. If there is just one person who finds your information helpful, well...that's very, very good.

It's always scary to not know where to turn in times of need.


Amanda Summer said...

a profoundly important topic, which seems to be more and more critical in this day and age. i know you don't speak much of your own struggle, Rob, but when you do i always am impressed by your honesty and the guts it takes to share one's own experience.

ReformingGeek said...

Bear hugs to you, too.

Mental illness is brutal.

Gutsy Living said...

I did not realize it was one in seventeen people. That's higher than I expected. Thanks for sharing "Mental Illness Awareness Week" with us. Always helpful to inform others.

Golden Eagle said...

I didn't know next week was Mental Illness Awareness week . . . thank you for this post!

Rosaria Williams said...

Raising awareness can definitely help.

Rob-bear said...

® That Corgi: Thanks. There are lots of people who suffer, and can't get the kind of help they need. I try to raise people's awareness, for their sakes, and the sakes of those around them.
Sorry to hear of your daughter's struggles. Hope things are better for her.

® Frances: It is tough when you need help and don't know how to get it. Thanks.

® amanda: Thanks for the thoughtfulness. Behold the turtle, who only makes progress when he sticks his neck out.

Rob-bear said...

® Reforming Geek: Thanks. And brutal is the word.

® Golden Eagle: Thanks. And you're welcome.

® rosaria: Raising awareness is all I can do. Thanks.

Chatty Crone said...

Well - it would also be nice - if people who needed help would get it! And not be in denial.


Natalie said...

Needs to yelled from the rooftops. xx

Rob-bear said...

® Chatty Chrone: Getting help is essential. Likewise, not living in denial or ignorance.
Thanks, Sandie.

® Natalie: Yes. Absolutely. Thanks.

Rubye Jack said...

People with mental illness don't know where to turn for help because there is no where to turn unless you have lots of money. Part of the reason there are no resources is because the pharmaceutical companies have been convincing people that drugs are the answer. It's bizarre because the neglect of those of us with some sort of MI probably costs society more than good health care would. That's for the U.S. anyway.

Rob-bear said...

® Rubeye Jack: Excellent points. The current standard of treatment is a combination of medications and "talk therapy." Neither one of those alone. It seems to me that medications bring one to the point where one can see more clearly what is happening in one's life, and then look to develop creative change.
You are right about the cost. There is a huge cost, measure in loss of productivity, that comes from mental illness. That's why it is in the employers' best interests to have some way of helping employees in dealing with that.
The other kinds of social costs are also documented and cost-estimated, but I cannot recall the numbers at this point. But the costs of individuals and families are huge.
In Canada, sessions with psychiatrists are covered through medicare, and most drugs are covered through private or group health care insurance.
But if you cannot find a doctor who can and will prescribe the meds, or someone who can talk with you about your life experiences, you are stuck in an unfortunate situation.
Thanks for raising these issues, RJ.

Just Two Chicks said...

I'll be taking my son to the doctor this week to see if he suffers from clinical depression, maybe he has Asperger's syndrome... who knows. We do know he isn't like other boys his age... he's socially inept, emotionless. It may simply be puberty and a lack of respect for women in general. I just need to know so I can handle it appropriately. I hope you have a great week!!!

Lydia said...

I don't have anyplace to put a poster for public view, but I am going to send this information to my childhood girlfriend who works at a newspaper in Arizona, and whose daughter has suffered severe depression since the birth of her child. I owe her an email anyway, so thank you for this extra incentive to stop and write to her. The families of those with mental illness need support too, such as in the case with my friend because all her energy and resources have been directed toward saving her daughter's life.

I have been depressed lately and even picked up a flyer for a local psych. at the hospital the other day when I was there for annual physical lab work. It's important for brochures and posters to be there for those in need of assistance.

You are a fine Bear to discuss this.

Lins' lleisio said...

It's funny Bear (well not very funny) that even in this day and age I'd feel fine discussing my broken leg with anyone who cared to listen. But admit that I feel depressed - that's hard to do with anyone at all, most of all with oneself. Hopefully this blog and the posters displayed out and about will help raise awareness of such a serious problem for a lot of people.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing this important information. So often this topic is hidden and not talked about by many. I admire you for speaking up with the possibility of helping others.

Kim said...

Things like posters and magazine articles are the things that got me to seek help in the first place. No doctor believed me at first when I tried to describe how I felt, but when I was able to relate to a medical term and talk to a doctor about it, suddenly it became real.