Mental illness has a much larger impact than most people think. It effects the sufferer and their family on a large-scale.

Mental illness is not something that affects only one person at a time. All kinds of mental illnesses tend to have a ripple effect; they have an impact on not only the sufferer themselves, but on relatives, friends, and other individuals.

Not surprisingly, many personal stories of people with mental illness begin with a rough childhood. Mental illness seems to thrive in households dealing with domestic abuse, a history of mental illness, homelessness, or drug and alcohol addiction. Even after a person has escaped the unstable household, there is a likelihood that the same issues will reoccur. The cycle can begin again, and effect yet another generation.

According to nami.org, over 50% of students with mental health issues age 14 and older who take special education classes have the highest dropout rate of any disability group.

“The worst part is that you want to help so badly,” said an unnamed relative of a bipolar sufferer. “And you are willing to go through just about anything to make them feel happy again and place them in a stable environment. However, you just can’t help people who don’t want to be helped.”

The stigma surrounding mental health has frightened people into trying to hide or just deal with their disorders rather than asking for the assistance that they need and deserve.

“There’s nothing wrong with getting help.” said Lishia Rahmen-Jackson, an Oak Park native who sought mental help not only to get control of her own life, but to keep her relationships alive. “It doesn’t mean that you are weak, it doesn’t mean that you’re not strong enough, it doesn’t mean that you’re not saved or that you’re not a Christian. It means that you need someone to talk to and that’s okay.”

To read stories about Lishia and other Sacramento citizens that have dealt with their mental illness, you can take a look here. The site is also good for finding ways you can help eliminate the stigma surround mental disorders, and how you yourself can get help if needed.