Thursday, January 9, 2014

Everybody Knows Somebody

While I was editing one of my earlier blog posts for possible publication on another website, I found myself typing "It can happen to anyone" for the umpteenth time in the last several years.

It's true. Depression and addiction can happen to anyone. Just like cancer. Or diabetes. Or heart disease. Or the flu. Depression and addiction don't discriminate and there's no vaccine for either one. If you're a living human being, either disease--and often times both--can rear its ugly head and bite you or someone you love.

For your consideration:

According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), "An estimated 26.2 percent of Americans ages 18 and older--about one in four adults--suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder in a given year." One in four. That's a pretty high percentage. I'm guessing everybody knows somebody.

According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA),  "In 2010, an estimated 22.1 million Americans (8.7 percent of the population aged 12 or older) were classified with substance dependence or abuse." Again, I'm guessing everybody knows somebody.

With numbers like that, and the likelihood that everybody knows somebody who suffers from a mental illness or addiction, I have to wonder for the umpteenth time: Why is there still such a stigma attached to mental illness and addiction?

I will acknowledge that the stigma has decreased. But it's still there in a big way. And it needs to get the hell out.

In 2014 I will be busting my butt to help BREAK THE STIGMA associated with mental illness and addiction. I may be unemployed, but while I'm looking for work I'll have some extra time to devote to this cause.

If I were STIGMA, I'd watch my back.


  1. You make me smile. I was thinking about this today.

  2. A funeral was held today for the 22 year old son of a former co-worker of mine. He had a heroin addiction. It breaks my heart. Don't stop your fight.