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In the United States, Canada and Western Europe, mental illness accounts for 25% of all disability. By comparison, heart disease and cancer account for 5% and 3% respectively.(World Health Organization) However, a recent study revealed that less than 40% of Americans with serious mental illness receive stable treatment. (Health Services Research)” Family-to-Family Book (Check “Education” Tab to sign up.) The three largest in-patient institutions for the mentally ill in the USA are the Los Angeles County Jail, Chicago’s Cook County Jail and New York City’s jail complex on Riker’s Island. (Governing Magazine, Oct. 1, 2008) Question: How do you measure stigma? One measure could be the funds and services provided for those who have a mental health diagnosis in comparison to other illnesses. There are many levels of advocacy, so do what you can. Speaking to one person can make a difference. That person doesn’t have to be a poltician. He/she could be a friend, a family member, an acquaintance…the list goes on. Be the one who brings change. Listen to other advocates and hear what they are doing.

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