When a loved one is affected by mental illness, the signs are agonizing: withdrawal from friends and family, feelings of hopelessness, excessive anxiety, to name a few. But for the person who experiences such symptoms, the stigma of mental illness may overshadow a critical need to seek treatment. This barrier can lead to lower self-esteem, destructive behavior, further isolation, or in the worst scenario, suicide.
When one in four U.S. adults suffers from a mental health disorder, yet fewer than one-third seek treatment, this vicious cycle must be broken by reducing the stigma associated with mental illness, through educating families and the public, connecting victims to resources, and improving treatment options.
The Naomi Ruth Cohen Institute was created to educate others about the stigma of mental illness. Through conferences, workshops, an annual fellowship for a clinical psychology student at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology, and a variety of other educational activities, it has reached and given voice to people who have experienced mental illness too long in isolation.