Congress has designated the first week of October each year as Mental Illness Awareness Week. The goal of the week is to raise public awareness about serious mental illnesses such as major depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. As many as one in four adults experiences a mental health problem in any given year; one person in 17 lives with a serious, chronic disorder.
Mental illnesses are medical illnesses, NOT defects of character. Yet many people, even very close friends, are reluctant to acknowledge or speak about these disorders. Friends can make a huge difference in helping someone come to grips with the need for diagnosis and treatment.
One of the most common and treatable disorders is depression. For that reason, I contributed an article this week to ThirdAge.com about the impact of depression on friendship, also discussing what friends can do when they notice the signs and symptoms of depression. If you have a friend who seems depressed, I hope you will click here and read the article.
For more information about depression, see: