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It's Mental Illness Awareness Week

IMAGE: One in four Americans suffers from some form of mental illness, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness in Utah. It's Mental Illness Awareness Week. Image courtesy of NAMI Utah.
IMAGE: One in four Americans suffers from some form of mental illness, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness in Utah. It's Mental Illness Awareness Week. Image courtesy of NAMI Utah.
October 7, 2013

SALT LAKE CITY - One in four Americans suffers from some form of mental illness, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) in Utah. Raising awareness about services and treatment is NAMI's mission this week, during Mental Illness Awareness Week.

NAMI Utah Outreach Specialist Mary Burchett explained that the most common forms of mental illness are bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, depression and anxiety. Help is available through NAMI and other mental health professionals and organizations, she said.

"Here in Utah, we provide free classes and support groups for individuals living with mental illness, as well as for their family members," Burchett said.

There is greater effort now than in the past, she said, to raise awareness about the number of Americans living with untreated mental illness.

Another challenge is overcoming the stigma attached to being treated for mental illness, she said, noting that some people do not seek help because they're afraid of being viewed as "crazy." The twist is, she added, that what patients fear most - treatment - will also help them the most.

"In fact, the things that they're afraid to try or to do will actually improve their livelihood and help them get through what they're going through," she said.

On Saturday, Oct. 19, at Liberty Park, Salt Lake City, NAMI Utah will hold its annual "NAMI Walk" to help raise awareness about mental illness.

More information is available at the NAMI website, www.namiut.org.

Troy Wilde, Public News Service - UT