According to The National Alliance on Mental Health, 1 in 5 adults in the US will experience mental illness each year (that’s 46.7 million people in 2018), 1 in 25 will experience serious mental illness (11.4 million people), and 1 in 6 children in the US aged 6-17 will experience a mental health disorder (7.7 million). 50% of all lifetime mental illness begins by age 14, and 75% by age 24. Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death among people aged 10-34.
That’s a lot of sick people, and a lot of families and friends dealing with mental illness every single day. It stands to reason that most of us will find ourselves involved with someone else’s mental illness at some point, perhaps most often within our own families. Unless our life circumstances put us right in the middle of this harrowing predicament, few will realize the difficulties this challenge presents, how different it will be from dealing with other health issues, and how commonly accepted legal and social norms will complicate our lives dramatically.
Ms. Walker writes warmly and compassionately about the long journey of mental illness she and her family have endured for decades. She also discusses various related issues and offers tangible suggestions for self-care - all easily accomplished by anyone. Families like hers often find themselves in a constant vortex of unforeseen circumstances, and her practical suggestions encourage others so they might begin to thrive despite the chaos.