Shining a light on mental illness | BrainerdDispatch.com | Brainerd, Minnesota

Shining a light on mental illness

In Sunday's paper you'll find the first of a two-part series on mental illness in the Brainerd lakes area. The second part will run Monday.

Here's a little about what you'll read:

They are your neighbors. Your coworkers. Your best friends.
But there’s something you may not know about them: they have a mental illness.
Nearly half of U.S. adults will develop at least one mental illness during their lifetime, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
Yet many of those people will put off treatment because of the stigma of mental illness, local professionals say.
They keep their diagnosis quiet in fear of being rejected.
Some are telling their stories, in hopes of shining a light on the subject.
These are just a few faces of mental illness.

The four people I profiled told me stories about being shunned by fellow residents. People often take a step back when they hear someone close by has a mental illness, they say. Like they, too, could catch the diagnosis.
This stigma, which is not unique to Brainerd, is serious.
It has some local professionals comparing it to racism.