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January 20, 2014

Each Mind Matters

* I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for the California Mental Health Services Authority. I received a promotional item as a thank you for participating.

Mental illness has received more media coverage and dialogue lately, but there is a lot of misinformation on the topic. These types of misinformation could lead to stigma and discrimination against those who live with mental illness. As such, it is important for us to better understand mental illness so that we may offer assistance to those who need it. 

Although I have not suffered from mental illness myself, I have known several people who suffered from it. In fact, a few of my friends experienced
post-partum depression. In a more severe case, my friend could not even be at home with her baby. She became suicidal and had to be committed. When she was finally released from the hospital, she began a long path of recovery. She shared her story with many people and it helped others get the help they needed as well. 

The scary thing about mental illness is that it is not a physical disability that is visible to the eyes. The person could appear normal on the outside, but he/she is battling with mental illness without anyone knowing. Sometimes a mental illness would cause the person to act differently, erratically and/or irrationally. However, since many of us are not familiar with the large spectrum of mental illness, we might not be able to recognize the symptoms or figure out what we could do to help.  

One of the interesting facts I have learned from Each Mind Matters is that
approximately 9 million children in the U.S. have serious emotional problems, but only 1 in 5 of these children is receiving appropriate treatment. A common myth is that mental illness can not be treated, once you are diagnosed with it, you will be ill for life.  But, the reality is that not only is treatment available, but full recovery is possible for mental illness.With support and treatment, between 70 and 90 percent of individuals have a significant reduction in symptoms and improved quality of life.

As a mother of 2 young children, I am definitely fearful for how things will be when my kids are teenagers. After reading the information provided on Each Mind Matters website, I will be paying more attention to my children's mental health as they get older. Research shows that half of all mental disorders start by age 14 and three-quarter start by age 24. The earlier you recognize the symptoms, the earlier your children will be able to receive help so that they may have a full, happy and productive lives as adults.  

If you or someone you love has been impacted by mental illness, I encourage  you to visit Each Mind Matters to learn more about the different myths and facts of mental illness. Please also take a moment to Join the Movement and pledge to end stigma associated with mental illness.