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Letter: There's hope for people with mental health conditions

By Mark Jacobson, Peer Support Specialist, Winona

If you have a mental health condition, you’re not alone. One in five American adults experiences some form of mental illness in any given year. Across the population, one in every 25 adults is living with a serious mental health condition such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder or long-term recurring major depression.

As with other serious illnesses, mental illness is not your fault or that of the people around you, but widespread misunderstandings about mental illness remains. Many people don’t seek treatment or remain unaware that their symptoms could be connected to a mental health connection. People expect a person with serious mental illness to visibly look different from others, and they will tell someone who doesn’t “look ill” to “get over it” through willpower. These misperceptions add to the challenges of living with a mental health condition.

Every year people overcome the challenges of mental illness to do things they enjoy. Through developing and following a treatment plan, you can dramatically reduce many of your symptoms. People with mental health conditions can and do pursue higher education, succeed in careers, make friends and have relationships. Mental illness can slow us down, but we don’t need to let it stop us.

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