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Mental Health Advocate Wants Public To Change Perception

National Alliance On Mental Illness

This week is Mental Illness Awareness Week, and the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) and its affiliates across the country are raising awareness and dispelling some of the common myths about mental illness.

Locally, NAMI Northern Lakes Executive Director Mick Fiocchi says the goal is try have the public see mental illness as they would any other illness...

"...I'm here to tell you that mental illnesses are a perfectly normal manifestation of human existence. They're just part of who we are as human beings, just like cancer, or heart disease or diabetes. They're all common with genetic components and they're treatable. I think that is the core message that NAMI would like people to know about these illnesses....."

Fiocchi says suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the U.S., more common than murder. He says another myth is people with mental illness are more prone to violence...

"...So these are potentially fatal diseases. It's nothing to sneeze at. It also is commonly believed that mental illness leads people toward violence. But statistics show that people with mental illnesses commit violent crime at about the same percentage as people who don't have mental illness..."

Congress established the first full week of October as Mental Illness Awareness Week in 1990.

More information on mental health issues is at the NAMI national website or the NAMI Northern Lakes Facebook page or naminorthernlakes.org.

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