El Dorado, CA (PRWEB) May 1, 2006
Award-winning author and educator Maureen Focht announces the first SHHHHH! – NO MORE! Breaking the Silence Award, designed to honor families struggling with mental illness. The Breaking the Silence Award strives to eliminate the stigma of mental illness and give voice to those helping family members with a mental illness to heal.
According to the National Institute of Health, mental illness affects 20% of all families and is one of the leading causes of disability.Over 2.2 million people in the U.S. suffer from schizophrenia, 18.8 million have been diagnosed with depressive disorder, and 19.1 million are afflicted by anxiety disorder. Despite its pervasiveness, mental illness carries an enormous stigma. Many families are often disoriented when a loved one becomes mentally ill.
Silent Heroes, Courageous Families Living with Depression and Mental Illness (Wyatt-MacKenzie, ISBN:1-932279-18-0) author Maureen Focht seeks to raise awareness and provide more education about the truths regarding mental illness so families will not feel “stigmatized” and reach out for help. Ms. Focht’s award program recognizes the family members who share their stories for their courageous words and actions, for their contributions, and advocacy, of their mentally ill loved one.
“The terrible stigma associated with mental illness makes families feel ashamed, humiliated, even guilty about their loved ones’ behavior. This must change. People must get the truth and information about mental illness and its true causes,” says Focht, who is donating a part of her book proceeds to a support group for the families of mentally ill people in El Dorado County, California. Recently, several very tragic events involving those with mental illness is also a cry for help in our society that does not want to deal with mental illness.
Alan Alda and Brooke Shields are perfect examples of Breaking the Silence Award Recipients for sharing their stories in coping with mental disorders with their books “Never Have Your Dog Stuff” and “Down Came The Rain”.
Ms. Focht is a healthy survivor of an upbringing shadowed by her own mother’s schizophrenia, while finding strength from her father, who stayed to care for his ill wife, work, and raise the family. She lives in northern California with her husband and daughter.
To apply for the award, please visit http://www.thesilentheroes.com . For media interviews, contact Maureen Focht at 530-621-4834.