This week is Mental Illness Awareness Week in the US. It's estimated that 20% of Americans have personally experienced mental illness, and 5% suffer from serious mental illness. Thus it's very possible that most of my readers either know someone who struggles with a mental illness or have struggled themselves. This is one reason I decided to write a related post this week.
Today's post is on a subject that hits close to home for me. Some readers may
already know that I suffer from depression and sometimes-debilitating anxiety, and I have loved
ones who struggle with various mental illnesses.
Mental illness is still a fairly taboo subject in today's society. While overall it seems that public awareness is improving - for instance, when celebrities or athletes share about their own struggles (Carrie Fisher, Brandon Marshall, Brooke Shields, Paula Deen, Pete Wentz, Jon Hamm, to name a few) - there are still many misunderstandings and stigmas that exist.
Thankfully, there are many resources out there today - books, articles, online forums, phone helplines, classes - both for those who struggle themselves and for those who have loved ones struggling. I'm including a quick roundup of a small variety of helpful/educational books and links that I have read or have had others recommend. Sometimes, it helps to just know that you're not alone and that there are resources out there from others who understand. And even if you do not personally struggle with mental illness or have a close loved one who does, resources like these can be helpful in order to educate yourself and better understand how to help others.
*please read at your own discretion as some resources contain trigger warnings. If you or someone you know is seriously struggling, please consult a medical professional. Remember that only medical professionals can make a diagnosis.
NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) is a great overall resource. Their website has lots of helpful information and articles. NAMI also holds local, 12-week classes both for family members/loved ones/caretakers of those struggling with serious mental illness (Family to Family) as well as classes for those personally suffering from serious mental illness (Peer to Peer) and various other support groups.
I Am Not Sick, I Don't Need Help: How to Help Someone with Mental Illness Accept Treatment
Ben Behind His Voices: One Family's Journey from the Chaos of Schizophrenia to Hope
Loving Someone With Bipolar Disorder: Understanding and Helping Your Partner
Depression Part Two (Blog post from Hyperbole and a Half)
Depression Quest: An Interactive (non) fiction about living with Depression
24 Comics That Capture the Frustration of Anxiety Disorders
It Happened to Me: My Parents are Hoarders (Article from xojane)
4 Things No One Tells You About Having OCD
I Do Not Have an Eating Disorder (Comic that touches on the author's struggles with Anorexia/Anxiety/Depression/Self Harm)
Stop Walking On Eggshells: Taking Your Life Back when Someone You Care About has Borderline Personality Disorder
Real Monsters (Illustrations of various mental illnesses as monsters)
Mental Health - From Shame to Seeking Treatment (7-part blog series)
Series of various posts from Homeschoolers Anonymous
If you have resources that you've found useful, feel free to add them in the comments.