Tuesday, May 19, 2009

There is always hope

Representatives from the local NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, gave an interesting talk for library staff recently. They told us that 25% of all adults in any year suffer from a mental illness, approximately 78 million Americans. In terms of disease burden, only heart disease is more prevalent. These are "no fault" illnesses that are treated with hospitalization, medicine, therapy and support networks. 70-90 percent can be treated successfully. Treatment is better than 25 years ago but will be even better in another 25 years. Eventually authorities predict that there will be targeting drug therapy, in which patients will find out which medications are indicated through blood tests. More research is discovering more about the brain and how it works and how it heals.

The Soloist by Steve Lopez is an account of his friendship with a gifted violinist, Nathaniel Ayers who has schizophrenia. It was recently made into a movie. Visit this NAMI web site to view a clip from the film and see a film explaining schizophrenia.

Learn more about schizophrenia and other mental illnesses by reading these NAMI recommended books.

An Unquiet Mind by Kay Redfield Jamison
Surviving Schizophrenia by E. Fuller Torrey
Surviving Bipolar by E. Fuller Torrey
The Center Cannot Hold by Ellen Saxe "a good story" also available as a CD
The Bipolar Advantage by Tom Wooten available through Link+
I am not sick, I don't need help: how to help someone with mental illness to accept treatment by Xavier Amador

May 30 San Francisco Bay Area Walk for NAMI will take place. Patty Duke, academy award winning actress and best selling author is the Grand Marshall. Check out her books, videos or DVDs at the library.

posted by mb