Since 1990, National Mental Illness Awareness Week has been recognized by the U.S. Congress as a time for mental health advocates and patients to join together for various awareness-raising activities. Sponsored by National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), the goal of this week is to transform the way we think about mental illness, which is defined by NAMI as “a medical condition that disrupts a person’s thinking, feeling, mood, ability to relate to others and daily functioning.”
Like any other medical condition affecting a particular organ, mental illness is not caused by personal weakness or character defects, and it can affect individuals of any age, race, religion or income. As an example, some famous people who are known to have lived with mental illness include Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill, Gandhi, Tennessee Williams and Mike Wallace (who was eulogized by one of our members last June). Below is a new PSA ad for National Mental Illness Awareness Week 2012 that focuses on some of these legendary icons, stressing that “you are not alone in this fight.”
But what about feeling like no one understands what you’re going through? That’s where finding others like you – such as those with the same diagnosis (or diagnoses), symptoms or treatment side effects – comes in. At PatientsLikeMe, we have tens of thousands of patients sharing their experiences with more than 60 mental health conditions, including:
- Bipolar disorder
- Eating disorder
- Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)
- Major depressive disorder
- Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)
- Phobic disorder
- Postpartum depression
- Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
In addition to exchanging in-depth treatment evaluations about the effectiveness and side effects of commonly prescribed medications such as Cymbalta, Klonopin or Wellbutrin, our members are connecting and supporting each other daily in our Mental Health and Behavior Forum. Currently, there are more than 39,000 participants and more than 333,000 posts in this highly active forum, where you can find answers, empathy, humor and thought-provoking conversations day or night.
Get to know our mental health community – including what depression feels like to them or how PatientsLikeMe has helped them be more open about their condition – today. Also, stay tuned for some tips from our community about what to do and not do when interacting with someone who is living with a mental health condition.