We are happy to announce the beginning of Park Center's blog! This space is dedicated to sharing new ideas, current information and resources for support. We invite you to become guest bloggers anytime you have something to share. Simply email email@example.com and we will review your post.
Our first guest blogger is Stu Miller, Park Center's Board Chair.
Thank you Stu for your leadership and vision for our agency's mission!
Think you haven’t been touched by mental illness in some way? Think again! Sometimes it’s very subtle, like a co-worker with adult attention deficit disorder who is mislabeled as “scatter-brained.” Perhaps it comes in the form of a neighbor whose road rage goes way beyond socially accepted norms due to a severe and persistent antisocial personality disorder. It may be as close as a family member, struggling with a major depressive disorder due to some stressful life event. Think of the soldier, just back from his third tour in Afghanistan, with post-traumatic stress disorder so severe that he can’t play with his child.
Mental illness isn’t limited to ethnic minorities, the poor, high school drop-outs or the homeless. As actress Glenn Close, whose sister has bi-polar disorder, said, “Mental illness is just part of the human condition.” Surveys indicate that 25% of adults in the U.S., 18 to 55, have some diagnosable mental disorder. Children and adolescents with serious emotional disturbances number approximately 5%- 9% of children ages 9 to 17. In the case of adults over the age of 55, statistics indicate roughly 19% have some mental disorder.
One of the keys to eliminating the stigma of mental illness in our community is the ability to keep those who have been diagnosed living full and productive lives. The objective of all individuals entrusted to treat our family and friends with these behavioral disorders, is making recovery happen through medication that is properly managed, and through compassionate therapy with the patients and those who are closest to them.
Not long ago, mental illness in a family was a topic that was taboo and was never discussed or acknowledged, any more than alcoholism or drug addiction would have been. We’ve come a long way in understanding many of the whys and wherefores of mental disorders and there have been quantum leaps in terms of treatment options. The stigma of mental illness has come out of the shadows due, in part, to some high profile individuals such as Donald Trump and Howie Mandel, neither of whom will shake hands or touch elevator buttons, or Carrie Fisher and Jane Pauley with bi-polar disorders. The good news is that all of these celebrities, and all of the non-celebrities among us, have found ways to lead creative lives through a recovery process that is unique to each individual.
At Park Center, we believe individuals can be active and contributing members of their community by defining their lives apart from their mental illnesses. We have made great strides in educating our friends and neighbors to see the difference between saying “That woman is bi-polar” and “That woman has bi-polar disorder.” It might not seem like a big difference to you, but trust me, it is!