Making a difference

wareness Week just passed and is an important opportunity to learn more about mental illnesses such as major depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.

It’s an opportunity to make a difference.

Mental illness does not discriminate. It can strike anyone at any time.

Fortunately, recovery is possible. Treatment works, but only if a person can get it. Most mental illness begins by age 24. Unfortunately, there are long delays ? sometimes decades ? between the first appearance of symptoms and when a person gets help.

Everyone needs to understand the nature of mental illness and learn the symptoms of different conditions. Fact sheets about specific diagnoses and treatment options are available from the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) at Please browse them and share or mention them to family and friends.

I have struggled with the effects of mental illness, bi-polar, since I was a teen. I know how the illness can ravage your mind, body and spirit. You want so bad for people to help while at the same time being terrified that if people find out they will ostracize you. It has become my goal and passion to break the stigma and attempt to reach out to those around me who need assistance. If you know someone that is, or may be, struggling with a mental illness take the time to reach out to them. Let them know you care, listen to them and just be there for them. You can make a difference.

Know where to find help for yourself or others in case it’s ever needed. Most people start with their primary care doctor. Many may start by confiding in a close family member of friend. When they do, it’s important to take their concerns seriously.

Don’t be afraid to speak up or reach out. The U.S. Surgeon General has reported that stigma is a major barrier to people seeking help when they need it. That’s why MIAW is observed. The more people know, the better they can help for themselves or their loved ones.

Rodney Knier


Submitted by Virtual Newsroom