I thought I would add this in before the article below:
From the transcripts at the Dr Phil website, it looks like it was very well done and an educating show. How wonderful! http://www.drphil.com/shows/show/618

MENTAL ILLNESS IS FINALLY COMING ‘OUT OF THE CLOSET’

Finally major media is starting to explore the issue of mental illness. Thousands of people struggling with mental disorders and their families can finally be heard, and are thankful for this exposure by Dr. Phil. The National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI), is the largest support and advocacy group, for families trying to cope with mental illness; NAMI estimates at least one in five families have a member with a mental disorder.

El Dorado, CA, (PRWEB) December 7, 2005 -- When the Nov.23rd episode of Dr. Phil’s show on schizophrenia featured a video of the mother of one the show’s guests having a psychotic episode, a long-existing barrier was broken. Finally major media is starting to explore the issue of mental illness. Thousands of people struggling with mental disorders and their families can finally be heard, and are thankful for this exposure by Dr. Phil. The National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI), is the largest support and advocacy group, for families trying to cope with mental illness; NAMI estimates at least one in five families have a member with a mental disorder.

As reported by NAMI, most serious mental (brain) disorders such as schizophrenia are due to a dysfunction of brain chemistry, a fact that most of the general public is quite unaware. In the U.S. Canada, and Western Europe, 25% of all disability is caused by mental disorders. In comparison, heart disease is responsible for 5%, and cancer, only 3%. This can be quite surprising to many, since there is so much more exposure given to treating these “more acceptable” diseases. Dr. Phil used his show to shed light on a subject that is not widely discussed by the mainstream media. Dr. Phil also offered insight that most people are unaware of; many individuals suffering from a mental illness are highly functional. By continuing to educate the public we can stop the stigma and begin the healing process for individuals with mental illness and their loved ones. Although most media portrays only negative images of mental illness, like Andrea Yates and Susan Smith it is important that the general public receive positive images that can be identified with. Everyday heroes are all around us they are champions, advocates, teachers, and loved ones that are affected with or by mental illness and they deserve to be celebrated.

In her newly released award winning book, titled Silent Heroes, Courageous Families Living with Depression and Mental Illness; mental illness advocate, author, and speaker Maureen Focht. M.S. shares her insight and perspective on the widely unknown disease. Many families have such stories—but simply have not shared stories of family members with Mental illness—they elect to remain “silent heroes.” Through the book, Focht emphasizes the importance of new and evolving educational resources available to families—especially children--to assist in understanding and contending with the challenges. Speaking to everyone when explaining the changes in family dynamics, she charts the evolution of the acceptance of treatment, and the need to recognize mental illness for what it is—a disease which, with treatment, can improve.

The book includes stories from families other than Focht’s—recognizing their own Silent Heroes or Heroines and the roles played in the journey of life. From defining the hero by his or her response--to defining the tasks at hand through persistence, resilience, compassion, fortitude and determination--Focht identifies the true gift that each Silent Hero offers the family unit; with both a look backward and credit where credit’s due. .

About Maureen Focht and Silent Heroes
Award-Winning Author Maureen Focht shares the personally poignant story of the “loss” of her mother and the role that her father had forced upon him in her first book in Silent Heroes: Courageous Families Living with Depression and Mental Illness (ISBN 1-932279-18-0, $13.95, 224 pages). In this, her first work, she shares not only the story of her family, but the heartfelt stories of others who have elected to come forward with their stories in their efforts to help minimize the social stigma attached to mental illness. www.thesilentheroes.com

Silent Heroes: named a Finalist Award Winner from USA Book News-2005 in two categories--Psychology and Social Change--examines in a positive and sensitive manner the challenges faced by families dealing with mental illness