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Mental Health

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AIR DATE: May 25, 2010

Sue Gaines remembers sitting in the hospital after her child attempted suicide. A social worker handed her a pamphlet on a mental illness support group, and Sue says it changed her life.

According to some statistics, 1 out of 4 families is affected by mental illness. And yet, strong stigmas persist.

How has mental illness affected your life? Do you know someone who is depressed or bipolar? Have you, yourself been hesitant to seek treatment or tell people about it? And why do those in the mental health community say so much of mental illness is feared and misunderstood?

Experts, family members and those with mental illness share their stories. Share yours or send us a question, by clicking on the comment link below.

GUEST
Judy Bousquet, Facilitator, National Alliance on Mental Health of Southern Nevada
Sue Gaines, Pres, National Alliance of Mental Illness of Southern Nevada
Michael Howie, Exec Dir, Mojave Adult, Child, and Family Services
Trina, consumer, Mojave Adult, Child, and Family Services
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    COMMENTS:
    Sue Gaines has learned the wrong lessons from the death of the 15 year old boy at the hands of the police. The one policeman (Derek Colling) who shot the boy certainly did not protect the mother. She was screaming "Don't shoot", "Don't shoot"!! The other policemen on the scene did wish to treat the situation as a mental health situation, but were thwarted by Colling, whose 45 second "interaction" with the boy was more consistent with his previous shooting (killing) of another citizen and his recent beating of a person who was videotaping him from across the street. This person killed the bi-polar boy and destroyed (not protected--in the words of Ms. Gaines) the life of the mother!
    ed uehlingJun 24, 2011 10:37:24 AM
    I am an adoptive Mom who's sons both are diagnosed with bipolar disorder. They began presenting symptoms at eleven and twelve years of age. They are also diagnosed reactive attachment disorder which presents very similar behaviors as bipolar. They were completely out of control self medicating, out all night,truant, acting out until they were both arrested at 12 and 13 yrs old for breaking into an empty house. We finally were able to get them treatment out of state that specialized in reactive attachment disorder. They are doing much better taking medications and receiving therapy. The right diagnosis and understanding can make all the difference.
    JuliaMay 24, 2010 11:09:51 AM
    At the encouragement of my girlfriend I began to seek help for my mental health problems about 2 years ago. For most of my life I have known there was something different about me. I asked for help from my parents in my youth, but my problems were dismissed. Mental health problems are difficult for some people to discuss. I was diagnosed as bi-polar at age 28 and I have been on medication since. My life has improved greatly, even though I still occasionally struggle. My advise to everyone is to dismiss the taboo about talking about mental illness. After my diagnosis I have hidden nothing from my family and talk openly about it with anyone who asks. After breaking the taboo, i was surprised by the support i received from both friends and family. After my diagnosis, some of my family members, and friends have also sought help. We are a healthier and stronger family by acknowledging our illness.
    CraigMay 24, 2010 09:38:18 AM
    I would like advice on how to help a loved one who is in denial regarding their bipolar diagnosis seek help. What is the best approach if someone denies their condition and says they do not need counseling and/or medication?
    RitaMay 24, 2010 09:16:45 AM
    I'm a professional person. Just last week I was arrested for a road rage incident and have been misdiagnosed as simply depressed for the past three years. Then was diagnosed as bipolar and given meds and only today feel normal after 20 years. I'm 45 now.
    PaulMay 24, 2010 09:08:22 AM
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