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20 Years Ago In POZ


February 3, 2011

SANE Reveals Mental Illness in America Is More Common Than People Think

Many of us continue to hold an outdated and simplistic image of mental illness. The fact is these disorders are much more complex and commonplace than most people realize. Mental illness is caused by a combination of factors, and it’s not bound by age, race, gender, education or socioeconomic status. The good news is mental disorders are often treatable medical conditions, according to SANE, a new digital mental health magazine launched by Smart + Strong.  

SANE magazine’s purpose is to help people living with mental illness overcome their fear of the stigma associated with these disorders. SANE also aims to promote a better understanding of those in the community it serves.  

In its premier issue, SANE explores the seven most common forms of mental illness in the United States: major depression, mild depression (a.k.a. dysthymia), bipolar disorder, seasonal affective disorder (SAD), generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).  

“One of the reasons so few people seek help for these disorders is because fear of stigma makes them keep their mental health struggles a secret,” says David Evans, SANE magazine’s editor. Evans disclosed his bipolar disorder diagnosis years ago and knows firsthand how important being open about his condition was in helping him get treatment and support.   

Also featured in this issue, mental health advocate and author Terrie Williams details her battle with clinical depression. It’s a triumphant story that reveals the unique ways stigma associated with this disorder affects the African-American community. As Williams says: “Now is the time to identify and name our pain—minus the myths and the stigmas—and seek the help so many of us need.” To achieve exactly that, Williams created a national mental health advocacy campaign called “Sharing Ourselves…Healing Starts With Us” that tours the country offering a public forum where people can talk about their experiences with depression.  

According to the National Mental Health Association (NMHA) only one third of all people with major depression ever seek treatment. African Americans and people older than 65 are the least likely to seek professional help and treatment.   

A big part of SANE’s mission is to deconstruct the myths and misinformation about mental illness that can lead to stigma and stop people from asking for the help and support they need. “The truth is mental illness can be treated,” Evans says. “And no one needs to suffer alone.”   

Smart + Strong’s health-focused magazines and websites are trusted sources of information produced by talented and dedicated people who know what it’s like to live with—and overcome—health challenges. Their personal experiences fuel their passion for providing information that inspires others to advocate for their own best health.

Search: Mental Health, Sane, major depression, mild depression, dysthymia, bipolar disorder, seasonal affective disorder, SAD, generalized anxiety disorder, GAD, obsessive-compulsive disorder, OCD, post-traumatic stress disorder, PTSD

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