From: Katherine Roden
Mental Illness Awareness Week is taking place this year on October 7-13. I would like to take the time to inform you about the importance of mental illness awareness. Mental illness affects one in four people from every race and background. As a psychology major and intern with Project Compass, I have seen the profound impact that mental illness, especially Schizophrenia, has on individuals and the community. Our society knows very little about the facts of Schizophrenia and this leads to many biases, judgments, and difficulties for individuals who are trying to cope with this mental illness.
Schizophrenia has affected 2.4 million adults nation-wide. Although it affects both men and women, the onset of this mental illness is unique to gender. Men show symptoms in their late teens or early twenties while women show symptoms in their late twenties or early thirties. Symptoms of Schizophrenia include hallucinations (such as hearing voices), delusions, loss of emotion and pleasure in everyday living, and a loss of contact with reality. These symptoms may make a person with Schizophrenia seem dangerous or erratic. However, this is not really the case. Schizophrenia is a brain disorder that can be treated. Fifty percent of diagnosed individuals who receive the appropriate treatment will be able to recover and lead normal lives.
As Mental Illness Awareness Week approaches, my hope is that NAMI members and the larger community will grow in their knowledge of Schizophrenia and all mental illnesses. There are many resources available to make a positive impact in the lives of people with mental illness. If you have any questions or would like to know more about these resources, please call Helen at 507-494-0905.