St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Hurst is presenting “The sickness we ignore: breaking the stigma of mental illness,” a bold and open discussion of mental health and mental illness from 9 am to noon, Saturday, March 2, 2019, at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, 463 West Harwood Road, Hurst, 76054. The event is free, but seating is limited, so please register at ssechurst.org (click on Events). Presenting partners are the National Alliance on Mental Health and the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance.
Too often, people only mention mental illness to very close friends or family and sometimes not even them.
Would they understand? They can’t know how it feels.
Will they pity me? Will they think it’s “all in my head” meaning what I have is not a genuine illness?
It’s embarrassing. There’s something wrong with me and it must be my fault.
If my employer learns I have a mental illness, will I lose my job?
Countless individuals and families keep mental illness a secret, not realizing many of their friends, neighbors and extended family members have similar experiences. According to the National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI), mental illness impacts 1 in 5 adults in the U.S.; that’s 43.8 million people or 18.5% of the population in a given year. Approximately 1 in 25 adults in the U.S.—9.8 million, or 4.0%—experiences a serious mental illness in a given year that substantially interferes with or limits one or more major life activities.
It’s not just the person with the illness who suffers loss, but the parents, siblings, spouse, children, grandchildren, or friends. In each instance, if three others are also affected that’s 131 million people who are touched by this collection of illnesses each year. That is more than 1/3 of the population of the U.S.
A safe place to talk
St. Stephen’s is offering this event to provide an open, safe place for heartfelt stories of struggles with mental illness and discussions about therapy, treatment, medications, and support groups. The panelists include several who have experienced mental illness, but are now in recovery, two who are Certified Peer Specialists working in hospital settings, and another recovering from mental illness and substance abuse. The organizations represented will be National Alliance for Mental Illness of Tarrant County and North Texas (Dallas/Denton); the Depression Connection, and Depression Bi-Polar Support Alliance.
They will share the challenges faced at work, in their private lives, and answer questions about family relationships, personal experiences, and public challenges.
9 am – Panel discussion and Q &A session
Noon – A complimentary lunch to encourage conversation and deeper insights.
Friday Movie Screen and Discussion
The night before, Friday, March 1, at 6:30 p.m., the event committee offers a free movie screening of Infinitely Polar Bear, starring Mark Ruffolo as a single bipolar dad who tries to win back his wife by taking sole responsibility for his two daughters while she attends graduate school. Life with this father — who frequently goes off his meds and binges on booze — is a series of near-disasters and humiliations for the girls, but Ruffolo creates a charming and gifted character that gives us an uplifting look at the serious challenges facing so many families. Time for reflection and discussion will follow. No registration is required for the screening.
Both events are at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church. The congregation meets in a storefront of the Village Plaza Shopping Center, 463 West Harwood Road, very close to the geographic center of Hurst. It is easily accessible, just a mile from Airport Freeway and Precinct Line Road.
St. Stephen’s goal is to be part of the heart of the community figuratively, spiritually, and in action. What better way to do that than to open our doors and really talk about how each of us shows the face of God to humanity? Many of our neighbors might also be interested in sharing their perspectives on a faithful life and ways to make this world a better place for peace and understanding.