Mental Illness Awareness Week Is Underway

By  | 

Mike Floyd works with patients at Georgia Pines Community Mental Health Services. Floyd's a peer specialist in the community.

"Right now, I'm a facilitator; I help people to recover from illness."

And he's also a shining example of what treatment can do for those suffering from a mental disorder.

"I was diagnosed as bipolar in 1979."

The National Mental Health Association reports that 54 million Americans have a mental disorder, but fewer than eight million of them seek treatment. Doctors attribute that to the stigma surrounding mental illness.

"There's been in advances in the medication therapy, in the mental health field, there's been advances in terms of non-medication and in terms of therapies that are offered and people's care, so hopefully the stigma is starting to reduce."

Dr. Fan says today's treatments focus on building a patient's self-esteem and giving them a place in society, something that can be achieved by just having a job.

"It's really helped me a lot because I was on the depressed side of manic for many years and I finally started getting better, and I feel like a productive citizen again."

With help, Floyd is living with his disorder and now helping others do the same.