Human Issues

Will you take the pledge with me? #MentalHealthMonth #StigmaFree @NAMICommunicate #IAmStigmaFree

I haven’t been blogging much lately. Between entertaining relatives taking shelter with us through Hurricane Matthew, starting a new role at work, and getting hooked on Civilization V, I’ve really had to cut back my time spent on social media. I can’t say it has hurt me a bit. Of course I normally go offline a lot during an election season because the extremes on both sides drive me away, but this year seems even different – darker – meaner.

When I do get on the Internet and see the headlines, I find myself getting angry or sad – especially about the stories involving children. In just the past week or so, three horrific stories kept popping up. Each version and update to each story released more graphic, heart-wrenching details.

Sadly, so many of these stories can be traced back to untreated (or poorly treated) mental health issues.


  • Among the 20.2 million adults in the U.S. who experienced a substance use disorder, 50.5%—10.2 million adults—had a co-occurring mental illness.1

  • 18.1% of adults in the U.S. experienced an anxiety disorder such as posttraumatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder and specific phobias.2

  • 70% of youth in juvenile justice systems have at least one mental health condition and at least 20% live with a serious mental illness.3


I have people very close to me suffering from serious mental health issues. I see how they struggle to get the right help. I see how they have to “explain” themselves to people over and over again. I get frustrated and angry when people judge the people I love… and yet, just today I caught myself getting emotional and throwing around phrases like “crazy” and “wackos.” I know what hurt language like that can cause. It doesn’t help anyone, and I decided I needed to revisit my behavior and renew my pledge to be #StigmaFree!

Please join me. Take a moment to check out the video below and visit to learn more.




Source: Nami
1. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Results from the 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Mental Health Findings, NSDUH Series H-50, HHS Publication No. (SMA) 15-4927. Rockville, MD: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2015). Retrieved October 27, 2015 from
2. Any Anxiety Disorder Among Adults. (n.d.). Retrieved January 16, 2015, from
3. National Center for Mental Health and Juvenile Justice. (2007). Blueprint for Change: A Comprehensive Model for the Identification and Treatment of Youth with Mental Health Needs in Contact with the Juvenile Justice System. Delmar, N.Y: Skowyra, K.R. & Cocozza, J.J. Retrieved January 16, 2015, from