Film Festival BLOG

Posted on February 16, 2017

Mental Illness and the Family: Warning Signs and How to Cope


A mental illness is a condition that affects a person's thinking, feeling or mood. Such conditions may affect someone's ability to relate to others and function each day. Each person will have different experiences, even people with the same diagnosis.

Recovery, including meaningful roles in social life, school and work, is possible, especially when you start treatment early and play a strong role in your own recovery process.

A mental health condition isn’t the result of one event. Research suggests multiple, linking causes. Genetics, environment and lifestyle influence whether someone develops a mental health condition. A stressful job or home life makes some people more susceptible, as do traumatic life events like being the victim of a crime. Biochemical processes and circuits and basic brain structure may play a role, too.


I honestly never knew much about Carrie Fisher’s struggles with bi-polar disorders growing up, but always looked to her as my idol. And while she was very outspoken about her illness, I felt it was easy to overlook due to her unyielding wit and hilarity. It wasn’t until later in life I appreciated her open honesty about bi-polar disorder and her effort to help change the taboo about mental illness. Rolling Stone summed it perfectly, “Fisher embraced her illnesses – bipolar disorder, alcoholism, drug addiction, and "serious body dysmorphia issues" – in a way that helped normalize them.”

One in 5 adults experiences a mental health condition every year. One in 17 lives with a serious mental illness such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. In addition to a person's directly experiencing a mental illness, family, friends and communities are also affected. Half of mental health conditions begin by age 14, and 75% of mental health conditions develop by age 24. The normal personality and behavior changes of adolescence may mimic or mask symptoms of a mental health condition. Early engagement and support are crucial to improving outcomes and increasing the promise of recovery.

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For more information about Labeled’ Film Festival on March 23-26, join our Facebook group. This festival will illuminate the untold truths of mental health to our community. Hope to see you at this amazing event!

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