Ride To Awareness is a 3,000 mile journey being undertaken by brave and committed individuals to bring your awareness to mental illness. It’s not something we want to think about. It’s not something we want to talk about. But, it’s something we have got to do something about.
When I read about how many of our country’s veteran’s commit suicide every day, I knew I couldn’t be silent about it anymore. Here are a few more chilling statistics.
As of 2008, of the almost 1.7 million veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, approximately 300,000 suffered with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or depression. That’s 18%! Over half of these weren’t getting the treatment they needed because they had slipped through the cracks. Many didn’t seek help because they feared a diagnosis of mental illness would hurt their careers with the military.
These terrible circumstances are not isolated to veterans of war. Civilians suffer major depression, bipolar disorder, panic disorder, and even PTSD, in addition to many other illnesses. And, it’s more prevalent than you think.
Chances are, you know someone with a mental illness. You may not even know that they are ill. Mental illnesses are treatable conditions, just like other medical conditions. Many people can recover and lead perfectly normal lives. With the proper treatment plan, many who cannot completely recover, can also live essentially normal lives. They go to work, fix dinner, and get the oil changed in the car. They just may need a few concessions, like a 30 minute nap after work, someone else do the clean-up after dinner, or any number of little things to take the stress off so they can continue to function.
Next to their illness, the biggest problem people with a mental disorder face is stigma. They get labeled, rejected, and dismissed. Even their families can’t or won’t understand their illnesses. They live in fear, like the veterans I spoke about, of people finding out about their mental health diagnosis. They fear losing their children, losing their jobs, and becoming a castaway in their own lives. Sadly, these fears are not unrealistic.
Support Ride to Awareness and bring these facts to light. Help others learn about mental illness so they can become part of the answer that so many have been searching for. Join the heroes who will be riding 3,000 miles from San Diego, CA to St. Augustine, FL beginning September 14, 2015 through November 15, 2015. Donate to the cause to bring awareness to mental illness.