“Mental illness touches everyone. Nearly half of all Americans have a risk of mental disorder in the course of their lifetimes. We all know someone – parent, partner, child, friend, coworker, neighbor – who has suffered or is suffering from a psychiatric condition. Mental illness costs our nation and our world trillions of dollars every year. Yet as devastating as the financial toll clearly is, the cost in lives lost or severely compromised by mental illness is incalculably greater.” – Patrick J. Kennedy, former Member of the House of Representatives As Patrick Kennedy states, “mental illness touches everyone.” For this discussion, I would like to share my own story. Since the age of 16, I have experience debilitating chronic pain – headaches, fibromyalgia, myofascial pain, etc. With that pain, came severe anxiety and depression. I wanted to take some time during this chapter to share my experiences with mental illness, as well as my various treatments, in the hopes that it will give you a real-life perspective on what it’s like living with these types of disorders. After you watch my video, answer the questions below. For this discussion, I would like you to discuss what you’ve learned this week about mental health and how you can apply it to your life. Here are a few ideas: Explain how mental illness has impacted the life of someone you know. (Please note that when sharing stories it’s important to remember that THEMES can be shared, but personal details – like names, etc. – should not be shared!). Describe one of the mental health disorders and something new that you learned. Discuss the mental health disorder that you found most fascinating and explain why. Explain any “ah hah” moments you had this week. Describe how you will use what you learned this week in your everyday lives.