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Mental Illness- Through Eyes Of Those Affected

Stories & Advice From Those Who Know
Kid's Zone
Support Organizations - All forms of Mental Illness
What Parents Should Look For If You Suspect Mental Illness In Your Child
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NEW! American Psychiatric Assoc. ( APA ) Now assists in Providing Free Medications Assistance- Click here for assistance!


Unity's Daily Word Online- Give Yourself a Word of Inspiration Whenever You Need It.


There is surely a piece of divinity in us,
something that was before the elements,
and owes no homage to the sun.

-- Sir Thomas Brown (1830-79) English physician and writer, from "Religio Medici."


"When compared with all other diseases (such as cancer and heart disease), mental illness ranks first in terms of causing disability in the United States, Canada, and Western Europe, according to a study by the World Health Organization (WHO, 2001). This groundbreaking study found that mental illness (including depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia) accounts for 25% of all disability across major industrialized countries". (President's New Freedom Commission on Mental Health)


The time has come to make a difference for the mentally ill in communities around the country.
This web site is for you!  You the man, woman or child that suffers ANY form of mental illness.  This is for you, the caregivers of the mentally ill, whether you are a parent, guardian, relative, friend, educator, therapist whoever you are... the angels who care enough, who have the passion, the compassion, to care for those who aren't necessarily visually disabled, but are limping emotionally.
You will make a difference.  All you have to do is want to help.
This is your safe place.  No one is excluded. Please feel free to contact us anytime for any reason, we will be more than happy to help you make a difference in your life and/or the life/ lives of those you love and care for who suffer from mental illness.
If you have a story, if you have help lines, if you are a Doctor... ANYONE who would like to help create a wonderful, educational, giving enviroment, here, online, & off line, please contact us at  or call us at 336-545-1850.
The more aware people become, the more difficult it becomes to deny mental illness exists, people aren't "just crazy", they're the generations that will care for all of us eventually! 
The more awareness we create for those affected, some without even knowing they are affected, the sooner treatment can be made available in some way or another.
We are all connected here, let's work together to make a stronger America/world, body, mind & spirit!

What is Mental Illness?

Mental illness is an illness that affects or is manifested in a person's brain. It may impact on the way a person thinks, behaves, and interacts with other people.

The term "mental illness" actually encompasses numerous psychiatric disorders, and just like illnesses that affect other parts of the body, they can vary in severity. Many people suffering from mental illness may not look as though they are ill or that something is wrong, while others may appear to be confused, agitated, or withdrawn.

It is a myth that mental illness is a weakness or defect in character and that sufferers can get better simply by "pulling themselves up by their bootstraps." Mental illnesses are real illnesses--as real as heart disease and cancer--and they require and respond well to treatment.

The term "mental illness" is an unfortunate one because it implies a distinction between "mental" disorders and "physical" disorders. Research shows that there is much "physical" in "mental" disorders and vice-versa. For example, the brain chemistry of a person with major depression is different from that of a nondepressed person, and medication can be used (often in combination with psychotherapy) to bring the brain chemistry back to normal. Similarly, a person who is suffering from hardening of the arteries in the brain--which reduces the flow of blood and thus oxygen in the brain--may experience such "mental" symptoms as confusion and forgetfulness.

In the past 20 years especially, psychiatric research has made great strides in the precise diagnosis and successful treatment of many mental illnesses. Where once mentally ill people were warehoused in public institutions because they were disruptive or feared to be harmful to themselves or others, today most people who suffer from a mental illness--including those that can be extremely debilitating, such as schizophrenia --can be treated effectively and lead full lives.

Recognized mental illnesses are described and categorized in the book Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition. This book is compiled by the American Psychiatric Association and updated periodically. It can be purchased through the American Psychiatric Press Inc.

Some of the more commonly known psychiatric disorders are depression; manic depression (also known as bipolar disorder); anxiety disorders, including specific phobias (such as fear of heights), social phobia, panic disorder, agoraphobia, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and generalized anxiety disorder; schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders, such as delusional disorder; substance abuse and disorders related to substance abuse; delirium; dementia, including Alzheimer's disease; eating disorders, such as bulimia and anorexia; sleep disorders; attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder; learning disorders; sexual disorders; dissociative disorders, such as multiple personality disorder; and personality disorders, such as borderline personality disorder and antisocial personality disorder.

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Rate of Mental Illness Is 'Staggering'

25% of Americans Have Mental Disorder at Some Point, Though Many Untreated, Researchers Say






                                   June 1, 2004 --  A World Health Organization study released Tuesday shows that rates of most mental illness are far higher in the U.S. than in any other country in the world.

At the same time, the study indicates that money used to treat mental health problems in the U.S. and abroad is not being spent in the most effective way possible.

Overall, the survey of more than 60,000 adults in 14 countries showed a 27% rate of mental disorders in the U.S. population for a list of diseases. That list includes: depression, anxiety, eating disorders, and substance abuse. The U.S. rate was substantially higher than that of any other country measured, including other industrialized nations such as Belgium, which showed a 12% illness rate.

Ukraine had the second highest overall rate of mental illness at 21%. Its 6.4% rate of substance abuse, including alcoholism, was the world's highest and the only measure to exceed U.S. mental illness figures, according to the study, published in today's issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association.

High Rates Underestimated

Despite evidence that one in four U.S. adults experiences mental illness at some point, researchers still consider the figure an underestimate. They acknowledge that many people remain reluctant to tell surveyors about their mental health history, mainly because of the stigma attached to mental diseases. Underestimates could be even more severe in foreign nations, where patients are unaccustomed to discussing emotional issues or even giving information to pollsters, as they were asked to do for this study.

"These numbers are absolutely staggering," says Ronald C. Kessler, PhD, a professor of health care policy at Harvard Medical School in Boston, and one of the study's co-researchers. "When we get to the bottom of the situation, my guess is it is going to be doubly staggering," he tells WebMD.

Among the study's findings are an 18% rate of anxiety disorders and a 10% rate of mood disorders in the U.S. Both figures are above that of any other country, but range far beyond what is found in places such as Shanghai, which showed just a 2.4% rate of anxiety and a 1.7% rate of depression.

Kessler says that researchers still aren't sure whether mental illnesses are much more common in the U.S. or if people are simply more comfortable discussing them with questioners. Discussions of mental illness are far less common in many parts of the world than in the U.S., where drug companies frequently tout medications designed to treat disorders.

"These are the kinds of health problems people don't jump up and say they have," he tells reporters.

Kessler points to a 5.3% reported rate of anxiety disorders in Japan -- a figure he calls "implausibly low." Japan also consumes the most benzodiazepines -- drugs used to reduce anxiety. That is more than any other nation per person, he says.

The study also shows that the U.S. and other industrialized countries are doing a poor job of spreading treatment to patients who most need it. Nearly half of all people with serious mental illness in the U.S. did not receive any treatment in the last year. At the same time, 23% of people with "mild" mental disorders and even 8% of those with mental problems that didn't quite meet official criteria for a mental illness -- called "subthreshold" problems -- got care.

"The fact that many people with subthreshold disorder are treated while many with serious disorders are not shows that unmet needs for treatment among serious cases is not merely a matter of limited treatment resources but that misallocation of treatment resources is also involved," the researchers conclude.

Kessler maintains that putting more resources into early identification and treatment of mental disorders could prevent more illnesses of all severities.

"The resources are already in the health care system to do that if we wanted to reallocate the dollars," he says.

SOURCES: "Prevalence, Severity, and Unmet Needs for Treatment of Mental Disorders in the World Health Organization World Mental Health Surveys," Kessler, R.The Journal of the American Medical Association, June 2004; vol 291: pp 2581-2590. Ronald C. Kessler, PhD, Professor of Health Care Policy, Harvard Medical School, Boston.

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-- Mahatma Gandhi




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Interested in beginning a support group?  Or do you know of support groups that are available to families suffering mental illnesses in your area?  Please send information to: or contact Jacqueline Rider at 336-545-1850.  We would love to list your information here!


WebMD Mental Health Information

National Alliance For The Mentally Ill

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National Mental Health Association


Mutant gene that starves the brain of serotonin 10 times more prevalent in depressed patients

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A mutant gene that starves the brain of serotonin, a mood-regulating chemical messenger, has been discovered and found to be 10 times more prevalent in depressed patients than in control subjects, report researchers funded by the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) and National Heart Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI).

Patients with the mutation failed to respond well to the most commonly prescribed class of antidepressant medications, which work via serotonin, suggesting that the mutation may underlie a treatment-resistant subtype of the illness.

The mutant gene codes for the brain enzyme, tryptophan hydroxylase-2, that makes serotonin, and results in 80 percent less of the neurotransmitter. It was carried by nine of 87 depressed patients, three of 219 healthy controls and none of 60 bipolar disorder patients. Drs. Marc Caron, Xiaodong Zhang and colleagues at Duke Unversity announced their findings in the January 2005 Neuron, published online in mid-December.

“If confirmed, this discovery could lead to a genetic test for vulnerability to depression and a way to predict which patients might respond best to serotonin-selective antidepressants,” noted NIMH Director Thomas Insel, M.D.

The Duke researchers had previously reported in the July 9, 2004 Science that some mice have a tiny, one-letter variation in the sequence of their tryptophan hydroxylase gene (Tph2) that results in 50-70 percent less serotonin. This suggested that such a variant gene might also exist in humans and might be involved in mood and anxiety disorders, which often respond to serotonin selective reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) — antidepressants that block the re-absorption of serotonin, enhancing its availability to neurons.

In the current study, a similar variant culled from human subjects produced 80 percent less serotonin in cell cultures than the common version of the enzyme. More than 10 percent of the 87 patients with unipolar major depression carried the mutation, compared to only one percent of the 219 controls. Among the nine SSRI-resistant patient carriers, seven had a family history of mental illness or substance abuse, six had been suicidal and four had generalized anxiety.

Although they fell short of meeting criteria for major depression, the three control group carriers also had family histories of psychiatric problems and experienced mild depression and anxiety symptoms. This points up the complexity of these disorders, say the researchers. For example, major depression is thought to be 40-70 percent heritable, but likely involves an interaction of several genes with environmental events. Previous studies have linked depression with the same region of chromosome 12 where the tryptophan hydroxylase-2 gene is located. Whether the absence of the mutation among 60 patients with bipolar disorder proves to be evidence of a different underlying biology remains to be investigated in future studies.

The researchers say their finding provides a potential molecular mechanism for aberrant serotonin function in neuropsychiatric disorders.

Also participating in the study were: Raul Gainetdinov, Jean-Marin Beaulieu, Tatyana Sotnikova, Lauranell Burch, Redford Williams, David Schwartz, and Ranga Krishnan, Duke University.

In addition to grants from NIMH and NHLBI, the study was also funded by the Human Frontiers Science Program and the Canadian Institute of Health Research.

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