Stories Shared with Avesta: What People with Mental Illness Want You to Know

It is October and this time of year we centralize around the National Alliance on Mental Illness’ (NAMI) efforts to raise awareness about mental illness. NAMI is “the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness.” NAMI leads the charge on some important causes dedicated to creating awareness about mental health, namely Mental Health Awareness Week and Mental Health Awareness Month. The goal of these important causes is to help reduce the stigma surrounding mental or behavioral health issues. NAMI explains, “We believe that mental health conditions are important to discuss year-round, but highlighting them during Mental Illness Awareness Week provides a dedicated time for mental health advocates across the country to come together as one unified voice.”


Mental Health Awareness Week: In 1990, Congress established the first full week of October as Mental Illness Awareness Week (MIAW) in recognition of NAMI's efforts to raise mental illness awareness to coincide with World Mental Health Day on October 10.

Mental Health Awareness Month: Mental Health Awareness Month has been observed in May in the United States since 1949. The month is observed with media, local events, and film screenings. Mental Health Awareness Month began in the United States in 1949 and was started by the Mental Health America organization.

This year, the October theme of (MIAW) was “What People with Mental Illness Want You to Know.”

We here at Avesta wanted to do our part by offering a few examples of what people with mental illness want you to know. We commend the bravery of those who were willing to share their stories with us.

Stories Shared with Avesta: What People with Mental Illness Want You to Know

“Apprehension over seeing a new care provider is especially acute for those dealing with Treatment Resistant Depression. The disease itself seems to whisper in your ear, telling you all the reasons why nothing will work, all the reasons why your life will only be misery. It would not be an overstatement to say treatments (or lack thereof) are life altering. I point this out because it is important to understand that my wife and I were both extremely concerned about finding a place with the knowledge and compassion necessary to treat this insidious mental passenger.” - E. M.

“I have struggled with suicidal ideation for as long as I can remember and it seems impossible how quickly and humanely ketamine can lift the shrouded and impenetrable weight of a depressive episode. I am feeling so hopeful that this doesn’t have to be just how life is for me.” - E. W.

“I have suffered from depression since childhood without relief from multiple prescription antidepressants. I gave up trying to treat it for 10 years until the pain grew to become totally intolerable. In my final pursuit of help, I found out that ketamine was being used to treat cases like mine and found Dr. Eshkevari shortly thereafter… Ketamine has gradually enabled me to release the deepest, most enduring parts of my pain and my brain feels as though it’s coming back to life. I have hope for my future, which is something I never thought I’d say.” – M. B.

“I have had depression since my teen years. Recently another anti-depressant stopped working. If it weren't for the ketamine infusions with Dr. Eshkevari, I would have probably ended up in the hospital again and would be looking at another round of ECT.” – S.G.

“I have treatment resistant bipolar depression and have tried countless different medications and treatments, including ECT and TMS, without any success. But after the series of 6 ketamine infusions, I am starting to have energy again and my desire to do things and engage in everyday life is back. For the first time in years, I wake up in the morning with an urge to get the day started instead of a feeling of dread, lethargy, or ambivalence.” – P.N.

Above are just a handful of the millions of stories that people suffering with mental illness experience every day.

In closing, we thought it was also important to share facts about mental illness from (NAMI):

Annual prevalence among U.S. adults, by condition:

You are NOT ALONE.

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