On Monday, President Barack Obama gave a moving speech about the importance of families and individuals seeking assistance when encountering symptoms of mental illness. Obama said, “Too many Americans who struggle with mental health illnesses are still suffering in silence rather than seeking help.”

And We at Goodwill Agree.

To provide support, Goodwill offers places that help people with mental health struggles. The Clubhouse of Lehigh County and now the new Drop-In Center of Lehigh County, located within the Clubhouse, are facilities that offer support to people coping with mental illness. Both are located in Allentown and serve Lehigh County residents.

These programs provide a safe and friendly environment where people who have experiernced mental health problems can gather and focus on recovery, education and employment. The Drop-In Center is more informal and offers socialization activities, while empowering participants to set goals, improve their life and become leaders.  Each facility also works to break down the stigma of mental illness. For more information about the Clubhouse or the Drop-In Center, go here: https://www.yourgoodwill.org/grow/supportive-services

President Discusses Physical Aspects and Stigma of Mental Illness

In his speech, Obama said, “The brain’s a body part too. We just know less about it. There should be no shame in discussing or seeking help for treatable illnesses that affect too many people that we love. We’ve got to get rid of that embarrassment. We’ve got to get rid of that stigma.”

Obama’s continued “We need to see that men and women who would never hesitate to go see a doctor if they had a broken arm or came down with the flu, that they have the same attitude when it comes to their mental health. We see it in veterans who come home from the battlefield with the invisible wounds of war, but who feel that somehow seeking treatment is a sign of weakness, when in fact it is a sign of strength.”

Obama cited a statistic in his speech: This year, one in five people will suffer symptoms due to a mental illness. To see a video of  President Obama’s speech, click on this link. http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-250_162-57587333/obama-time-to-bring-mental-illness-out-of-the-shadows/.

Did You Know?

Many famous people have suffered from mental illness over the years, including: President Abraham Lincoln and Prime Minister Winston Churchill; Robert Downey Jr. Robin Williams and Jim Carrey; Vivian Leigh, Patty Duke and Carrie Fisher; Ludwig von Beethoven, Kristen Hersh, and Peter Gabriel; Vincent Van Gogh, J.K. Rowling and Tim Burton; Terry Bradshaw, Daryl Strawberry and Jimmy Piersall; and Kitty Dukakis, Thomas Eagleton and Mary Todd Lincoln, to name a few. All have struggled with mental illness and went on to do great work and live great lives.

Van-Gogh Self-Portrait
When Van Gogh was at Arles being treated for his mental illness, he was often well and in remission from symptoms of  his bipolar disorder. While there, he created more than 140 masterpieces in 13 months.

To see videos and read some of the stories of these politicians, actors, composers, musicians, artists, writers, directors, athletes and more, go here: http://www.mentalhealthadvocacyinc.org/role-models.

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