Guest blog posted on Stigma Fighters
I spent many years working in public mental health with people who have serious, chronic mental illnesses such as depression, bipolar disorder, PTSD, schizoaffective disorder and schizophrenia. Over and over they would say to me “well you’re normal, you don’t get it”. I started to question, what exactly is normal and how do we define it for ourselves?
Research shows that 1 in 4 people have a mental illness at any given time according to estimates from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). Over the course of a lifetime, 50% of people will have a mental health diagnosis. If we extrapolate that to friends and family members of those with a mental health diagnosis, then almost everyone (dare I say absolutely everyone?) is affected in some way by mental illness. Sadly, there’s a stigma around mental illness so people don’t talk about it and it stays hidden in shadows.