It's time to have real conversations about our mental health. ABC30 presents a five-part documentary series taking a deep look at the state of mental health in California, inside the lives of those who suffer, the stigma associated with mental illness, organizations making a difference and those standing up to give hope.
Watch the five-part series on ABC30 Action News Live at 6:30pm starting December 5. See below for a description of each episode.
Episode 1 - The State of Mental Health
Millions suffer but it goes unnoticed. 1 in 4 adults in the US are diagnosed with a mental disorder every year, with 1 in 5 children facing the same diagnosis. Despite cries for help and a pandemic that has brought to light these struggles, there are not enough mental health providers to help those in need and an insurance system that's too complicated to navigate. How did we get here and what needs to change?
Episode 2 - Stigma
Two thirds of adults and children who experienced a major depressive episode did not receive mental health services. Whether it's the fear of being labeled as "psychotic" or "crazy", to the cultural and generational views of mental health, stigma has deep roots. Why? We look at the issues stigma creates and how we can break free of the misconceptions of mental health. Plus, how a Navy veteran broke the chains of stigma in his life and is using his voice to show the power of seeking help.
Episode 3 - Speaking up
Would you be able to recognize someone struggling with mental health? Many can mask their struggles from their family and friends, only to find out when tragedy strikes. Go inside the lives of the mother of a high school football star who died by suicide and how she is using her trauma to raise up others.
Episode 4 - Hope
Central California has the leading number of adults and children with serious mental illnesses. With the lack of facilities to help them, what are they to do? You build it. Go inside Central California's only mental health treatment center for 9- to 18-year-olds and the new approach they are taking to help kids in some of the darkest time of their lives. Plus, how a local middle school is setting the new standard in social work at schools.
Episode 5 - Change
Mental health experts agree, early prevention can tremendously help anyone going through a mental episode. Meet Dr. Felipe Mercado, formerly homeless and a drug addict, knew his life could have been different had someone intervened when he was younger. Now as a father and advocate, he is determined to make the change in mental health by training the next generation of mental health experts.
If you or someone you know is in emotional distress or considering suicide, call the National Suicide and Crisis Lifeline at 988 or 1-800-273-TALK (8255).