Posts Tagged ‘national alliance on mental illness’
May 2nd, 2012 | by
May is Mental Health Awareness Month. To bring light to Anti-Stigma, members of our Health Services team will reflect on their own careers and the fight against stigma. For updates, subscribe to NAMI’s Stigmabuster Alerts.
Lisa is a Registered Nurse at CareSource and has worked in behavioral health most of her career.
“I just fell in to it. It was a natural transition for me,” explains Lisa. “Some people gravitate towards maternity and babies; I gravitated towards mental health.”
You might think that’s strange, but Lisa doesn’t. She has a passion for helping people that have mental illnesses. In fact, mental illness hits close to home.
Lisa has two teenage sons – 19 and 17 – that struggle with schizophrenia, depression, anxiety and bi-polar disorder.
“Mental illness runs in our family; both my father and my husband struggle with it.”
When her oldest son was 3 years old, she took him to the doctor because she knew something just wasn’t right.
“He was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). My doctor told me to socialize him and involve him in activities. That seemed to help, but there were still other things going on that we weren’t yet aware of.”
Both sons were diagnosed at early ages and will probably be on medication the rest of their lives. However, there have certainly been bright spots along the way.
Her 17 year old son recently received his GED and will be attending college this summer.
Lisa’s 19 year old is attending college and involved with Goodwill Easter Seals to help him with housing and employment. Even his college professors are aware of his struggles and reach out to help when things get a bit overwhelming. Recently he had to take a break from school and work due to feelings of “losing control” but he is receiving the support and services he needs to get back on track. This is very common in people who try to manage their mental illness.
“A person with a mental illness can become easily overwhelmed. It’s important for people to have a support system to help them take a step back and put things in to perspective.” ”
Despite their daily struggles, Lisa is hopeful that people with mental illnesses can lead healthy, productive lives.
“The good news is mental illness is a disease you can live with if you are willing to work hard, accept help, allow support and recognize the ‘triggers’.”
Twenty years ago, mental illness was never discussed or addressed but simply swept under the rug. Today, education and communication are key. There are resources available but, the person has to be ready and willing to accept help.
Mental illness is more common than you might think. In fact, in Ohio there are approximately 418,000 adults and 124,000 children living with serious mental illnesses.
Some people think those who are mentally ill can just snap out of it, take some medicine and get better. That’s not the case. It’s a lifelong challenge, but it can be done with proper support and hard work.
“Mental illness is hard for people to talk about and admit. But the silence must be broken if we truly want to get people the help they need and deserve.”
Resource: National Alliance on Mental Illness