Photo by Sharafenna Williams.

15 percent of teens with depression will eventually develop bipolar disorder. Photo by Sharafenna Williams.

Mental illness is something that is affecting more Americans than most people would think. Although a large chunk of the American population suffers from some form of mental illness, the stigma surrounding it causes there to be little public knowledge on the subject.

Nimh.gov states that “Just over 20 percent of (or 1 in 5) children, either currently or at some point during their life, have had a seriously debilitating mental disorder.” These disorders include ADHD, depression, anxiety and panic disorders, eating disorders, and many more. It’s important not only to give resources to those struggling with mental illness now, but also provide support for the next generation who might need it in the future.

With these large numbers, you would think that these disorders wouldn’t be kept so quiet, and generally away from the public. According to stopstigmasacramento.org, “two-thirds of people with a diagnosable mental illness never seek professional help. Many do not know where to go, don’t realize their condition is treatable or fear discrimination.”

“Treating a mental disorder should be no different than treating a broken arm,” said a person diagnosed with bipolar disorder who has wished to remain unnamed “no one should ever be afraid to seek help for what’s bothering them.”

Mental illness is not something that anyone should have to hide from, or be afraid to get help for. It affects everyone, even those not experiencing symptoms themselves. Just like those with heart disorders or diabetes, mental disorders should be treated and given support and education. With more and more awareness, Americans should no longer be afraid or ashamed to get help for any type of mental illness. Everyone deserves the same amount of care, support, and treatment, no matter the ailment.

If you would like to get involved in reduced the stigma surrounding mental health in Sacramento, you can register to participate in a conversation on mental health. It will take place July 20th, and provide resources and education on the mental health of our community. You can register here: http://tiny.cc/CCSSacramento OR complete the attached form and mail it to the address on the form or fax to(916)5270856.