Appeal to the media and politicians: Does anyone care that it is Mental Illness Awareness Week in America?

Today is World Mental Health Day and this week is Mental Illness Awareness week in America.  Below are some shocking statistics about how mental illness affects our population.

  • “The burden of mental illness and addictions is more than 1.5 times that of all cancers, a new report suggests.” Ref1
  • “In the United States, the annual, indirect cost of mental illness was estimated to be $79 billion.” Ref2
  • “24% of state prisoners and 21% of local jail prisoners have a recent history of mental health disorder.” Ref3
  • “Over 50 % of students with a mental disorder age 14 and older drop out of high school—the highest dropout rate of any disability group.” Ref4

I have appealed to several politicians and most of the media that I could think of over the last 4-5 asking for their help to educate and erase the stigma.   I have only heard  from about 2% of the people I contacted.  I also have posted information on my FB page appealing that people share  with others. Only 2 people out of over 1,200 people cared to pass on the information.

People say that the stigma of mental illness is being erased. I have a hard time believing that.  Why else wouldn’t the major news channels, politicians, my friends, etc. not want to share valuable information?  All I asked is that they pass on one of my blogs:

  • “Mental Illness Week: What can I do?” Article 1 
  • “World Mental Health Information Article 2
  • “World Mental Health Day Around the World”  Article 3 

As someone who was diagnosed with a mental illness at a young age, I know first hand how hard it is to face the stigma.  I have been working hard for several years to try and raise more awareness about mental illnesses.  The theme for this World Mental Health Day is Depression: A Global Concern.  If you or a loved one suffered from depression or another mental illness, would you share that with others? If a loved ones fell sick with cancer, would you tell others?  I would guess that a lot more people would feel comfortable sharing they had diabetes or cancer than bipolar disorder, for example.

It is sad that our society can’t accept those with mental illnesses.  More needs to be done to help these individuals.  I read today that by not helping and accepting the mentally ill, it is a civil rights violation. The mentally ill are losing jobs, judged, alienated, etc. just like when Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King fought for their freedom. That’s a good point as I sure do feel alienated, let down, mistreated, and violated by my nation.

The NFL designates the whole month of October for Breast Cancer Awareness. What about mentioning that it is Mental Illness Awareness week?  A lot more people are affected by mental illnesses in the U.S. than cancer as stated earlier. “The burden of mental illness and addictions is more than 1.5 times that of all cancers, a new report suggests.”

More and more people are being jailed, hospitalized, and have become homeless due to mental illnesses that could be treated. This all is causing tax payers a lot of money. Instead of talking about this, politicians would rather cut funds and discuss silly things instead. The mentally ill are Americans too.

Thanks for your time. Please leave a suggestion/comment. I just want to say thanks to Governor Deval Patrick for announcing that October 13th will be Mental Health Awareness Day in his state. Ref6 Also, I received word that September 29, 2012 was declared  Mental Health Awareness Day in Illinois by  Governor Quinn.  Governor Brian Schweitzer and Carrie Frohreich from Montana contacted me by phone and are working on something now. I appeal to other governors to do the same. The Michigan Department of Community Help mentioned the week on social media.

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About Michelle Clark Bipolar Bandit

I am a strong advocate for the mentally ill and have been since I was first approached by a lawyer in a psychiatric facility as a teenager. He wanted me to help him fight how the mentally ill are mistreated. I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder at the age of 17 after a full blown manic episode. Before that, I suffered from debilitating depression for 4 years. My goals are to help others by sharing my story and providing tips to deal with mania and depression. I often write blogs related to advocating for people like myself. I want to encourage, inspire, and educate those with #bipolar disorder and other mental illnesses and also include inspirational #quotes. I founded the group Advocates for People with Mental Illnesses and the page Mental Health Advocates United and have several social media sites that are related to bipolar disorder and/or advocacy. If you are an advocate or would like to be, I hope you join our FB group: Advocates for People with Mental Illnesses
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