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Sep 11, 2018

Mental Illness and Loved Ones

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. Sometimes life’s problems aren’t that easy to fix. The reality is, no one is exempt from the curve balls life throws at you. When difficult times happen it doesn’t discriminate who experiences certain life challenges and who doesn’t. When you get hit by a big tidal wave how do you get back up? You get your bearings, and you get grounded! Getting grounded when life challenges happen can look different from person to person, one thing that everyone can and should do is reach out for someone’s helping hand. Grab onto that rescue buoy (that red thing life guards use to rescue someone) because you are not alone.

Mental illness is one of those life curve balls that can either slowly creep in, or hit us from out of nowhere. In America 43.8 million adults experience mental illness in a given year. About 1 in 25 adults in America have a serious mental illness, that’s about 10 million adults. About 2.6% or 6.1 million American adults live with bipolar disorder, 6.9% or 16 million adults live with major depression, and 18.1 % or 42 million adults live with anxiety disorders.

Unfortunately, 1 in 5 children ages 13-18 have or will have a serious mental illness. That means 20% of youth ages 13-18 live with a mental health condition. Of those children, 11% have a mood disorder, 10% a conduct disorder, and 8% an anxiety disorder. As if these statistics weren’t alarming enough, suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death in youth ages 10-24 and 90% of those who died by suicide had an underlying mental illness.

Because life doesn’t discriminate whether it be genetics, socioeconomic status, single parent home, two parent home, loss of a job, loved one, you name it, neither does mental illness. As a mental health professional I have a loved one that has a serious mental illness, I wasn’t kidding when I said no one is exempt from life’s challenges. It is because of this reason that I know the value of reaching out to a helping hand or the rescue buoy. One of those helping hands has been the organization National Alliance on Mental Illness or NAMI. It is a nationwide nonprofit organization that offers support groups for family members with a loved one with mental illness, support groups for individuals with mental illness, trainings, and education on mental illness and supports breaking the stigma on mental illness.

When life gets tough don’t wait until it gets unbearable, reach out sooner because help is available to you, and trust me the support you receive from first-hand experience goes along a lot further than me telling you, “you are not alone”. So please visit and check out the local chapter in your community. For more information on the statistics I mentioned earlier see the links below.

Statistics about adults living with a mental illness

Statistics about children and adolescents living with a mental illness


Melanie Mosbarger is a therapist that works with trauma-related issues as well as other mental health disorders. She uses a trauma-focused approach to help children, adolescents, and adults find the hope and healing they are seeking in their lives. For more information on her treatment modality click here.

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