World Mental Health Day, Oct. 10, is a day to combat the stigma that mental health struggles aren't real. Because they are.
Just in the U.S., about 1 in 5 adults experience mental illness annually, according to the National Alliance on Mental Health. About 1 in 25 struggle with a serious mental illness. Youth are the most affected — recent data showed the teen suicide rate is rising.
Here's some conversation among those who closely understand the realities associated with mental health:
“We have replaced the hospital bed with the jail cell, the homeless shelter and the coffin." — Rep. Tim Murphy, R-Pa., a child psychologist.
"If you struggle with mental illness, know that there are people out there who strive to make their workplace empathetic and supportive. You should never feel like you can’t address your emotional well-being because 'it’s just not something you talk about at work.'" — Madalyn Parker, a web developer who suffers from chronic depression and anxiety.
"It's impossible for people who have not experienced major depression to understand the depths of those feelings. This isn't sadness we're talking about. It's like falling into a pit and feeling like you're never going to hit the bottom." — Peggy Huppert, executive director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness Iowa.
"Every time light is shed on this illness, I think people's anxiety or sense of shame is reduced." —Ken Duckworth, medical director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness.
Borderline personality disorder
"Eating right and exercise can make a huge difference. And finally, if you’re in the cast of a late night comedy show it might help if they do more of your sketches.” — Pete Davidson about his borderline personality disorder during a past Saturday Night Live Weekend Update.
"We live in a culture where eating disorders thrive because of the messages we're exposed to." —Claire Mysko, head of youth outreach for the National Eating Disorders Association, or NEDA.
"I immediately look for an exit when I'm in a crowded room. I get a tight chest if I'm in a space I can't find a way out of. Sometimes I'm more afraid to sleep than I am to be awake because the things I dream about are really scary. And you don't know what to do. You seek therapy, you talk to people about it, but it's like you're trapped in your own mind." — said Brandon Wolf, who survived the Pulse nightclub shooting.
“You sort of think you’re the only one who hears them. You could imagine what it was like in 1972, and the stigma attached to mental illness. Sometimes, I think the stigma now is less, and sometimes, I think it isn’t less.” —Herb Maloney, who suffers from schizophrenia.
“Many people view suicide as a mental health problem, but many people who die of suicide do not have a mental health problem. It’s a public health problem." —Kristin Holland, a behavioral scientist at the Center for Disease Control.
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