By Bernice “Bernie” Marinelli
This is Mental Illness Awareness Week in the United States. The Northern Illinois Chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness hopes to generate awareness for mental illness — and the services and solutions available — this week, as we do every day of the year.
This is Mental Illness Awareness Week in the United States.
The Northern Illinois Chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness hopes to generate awareness for mental illness — and the services and solutions available — this week, as we do every day of the year.
Consider these facts and figures:
Adults living with serious mental illness die on average 25 years earlier than other Americans, largely because of treatable medical conditions.
1 in 4 adults (61.5 million Americans) experience mental illness in a given year, and 1 in 17 (13.6 million) live with a serious mental illness, such as schizophrenia, major depression or bipolar disorder.
20 percent of 13- to 18-year-olds experience severe mental disorders in a given year. For ages 8 to 15, the estimate is 13 percent.
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia in people 65 and older. Thousands of seniors in the Rockford area suffer from Alzheimer’s.
Experts believe that up to 4 million people in the U.S. are living with Alzheimer’s: 1 in 10 people older than 65 and nearly half of those over 85.
One-half of all chronic mental illness begins by the age of 14, three-quarters by age 24.
Despite effective treatment, there are long delays — sometimes decades — between the appearance of symptoms and when people get help.
People living with serious mental illness face an increased risk of having chronic medical conditions.
Suicide is the 10th-leading cause of death in the U.S. (more common than homicide) and the third-leading cause of death for 15- to 24-year-olds.
One is “Humor May be Hazardous to Your Illness,” an evening of comedy and entertainment with comedian Josh Walters, which begins at 5:30 Tuesday at Giovanni’s. The Stars of Light Theater Troupe will perform, and NAMI’s 30th anniversary will be celebrated.
For more information, contact 815-963-2470 or naminorthernillinois.org.
Other events include a mental health rally at noon Monday at the Winnebago County Criminal Justice Center, 650 W. State St. in Rockford.
During this nationally designated week Geiger Clinic of Psychiatric Services, Mental Health Association of the Rock River Valley, Rockford Health System, Rosecrance Health Network, Satori Pathways, Shelter Care Ministries, Stepping Stones of Rockford and SwedishAmerican Hospital Behavioral Health are partnering with NAMI Northern Illinois to build awareness of and break the stigma of mental illness.
“Gerospych” services are a significant area of concern in our community and nationwide because of the lack of quality services available to area seniors. The number of dementia and mental health cases is mushrooming, and area families struggle to find the right combination of services for their situation.
Satori is one of the few “geropsych” senior referral agencies that will come to a family’s home for an assessment and to make specific recommendations, such as finding the right physician or the right caregiver. Satori and other agencies, such as NAMI and the Alzheimer’s Association, work to increase awareness of senior mental health issues and available area services.
Bernice “Bernie” Marinelli is a NAMI (naminorthernillinois.org) board member and CEO of Satori Pathway (satoripathway.org, 815-395-2157, firstname.lastname@example.org).