Stand With Mercy Home Against Stigma of Mental Illness

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Many children turn to Mercy Home for Boys & Girls because their caregivers suffer from undiagnosed or untreated illnesses such as bipolar disorder, anxiety, or depression.

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“Having a mental illness is no different than having a physical one,” said Fr. Scott Donahue, President of Mercy Home. “We want everyone to know that there is no shame in any affliction of the body-including mental illness."

Mental illness does not discriminate, but sometimes people do. For those who suffer from a mental illness, the stigma that often accompanies it can be a significant barrier to getting professional, potentially life-saving help. Many children turn to Mercy Home for Boys & Girls because their caregivers suffer from undiagnosed or untreated illnesses such as bipolar disorder, anxiety, or depression. Untreated mental illness within a family can lead to trauma and insufficient care of its young people. That’s why Mercy Home for Boys & Girls is asking the public to sign its online pledge to help end the stigma of mental illness.

The goal of Mercy Home’s campaign is to raise awareness across the country about this important issue that affects children’s lives, not only those who come to live at its licensed youth care facility in Chicago, but children in families throughout the country. By talking openly and honestly about mental health, we can help more people view mental illness in a more compassionate and constructive light. “Having a mental illness is no different than having a physical one,” said Fr. Scott Donahue, President of Mercy Home. “We want everyone to know that there is no shame in any affliction of the body-including mental illness,” Fr. Scott said. He explained that the campaign is aimed at changing hearts and minds and at creating a more supportive environment that will foster treatment. “If we can all commit to learning more and fearing less, we can create a climate of understanding and compassion around mental illness that will encourage people to seek the help they need. And that will have a ripple effect on so many more lives, including the children who are entrusted to our care at Mercy Home,” Fr. Donahue said.

Joining Mercy Home’s effort is easy for anyone to do. Anyone can log on to [https://act.mercyhome.org/ea-action/action?ea.client.id=1955&ea.campaign.id=42177&ea.tracking.id=ef1c8230 __title__ ] and sign Mercy Home’s online pledge to be intentional about the words they use surrounding mental illness and to encourage people who are struggling to reach out to friends and to professional mental health care providers. They are also encouraged to share the petition with others, and to join a conversation about ending the stigma of mental health at [ #endstigma ].

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, one in four adults - approximately 61.5 million Americans experiences mental illness in a given year. Everyone knows someone who has been affected by mental illness, join Mercy Home and take a stand to end the stigma.

About Mercy Home for Boys & Girls

Mercy Home for Boys & Girls (http://www.mercyhome.org) has been a solution for kids in crisis since 1887. Through its residential, aftercare, and mentoring programs, Mercy Home offers a safe home, emotional healing, education, and life-changing opportunities for more than 600 young people every year. It gives children who have suffered abuse, neglect, poverty and even abandonment the therapeutic, academic and vocational support they need to heal from the traumas of their pasts and build success for their futures. Mercy Home is 99.8% privately funded and operates at three locations in Chicago - a home for boys in the West Loop neighborhood, a home for girls in the Beverly/Morgan Park community, and a home for AfterCare residents in South Shore.

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Mark Schmeltzer
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