Mental illness can be helped

By Melissa Mastrogiovanni

In 2009, the DeKalb County Community Mental Health Board issued a ‘Needs Assessment’ that stated 46.4 percent of DeKalb County residents are expected to have at least one mental or substance disorder at some time in their lives.

“Medically, I think a lot of it is hereditary…but I think there’s other factors that help bring mental illness out,” said Eileen King, National Alliance on Mental Illness member.

While certain disorders can result from chemical imbalances in the brain, others such as post-traumatic stress and anxiety disorders result from many outside influences. Today, with increased awareness about mental illness, more people are beginning to seek treatment for them.

“There is a lot more communication and understanding of what mental illness is…The education and the knowledge of mental illness has really come to a forefront,” King said .

Other outside influences, such as the poor economy and the war overseas, have contributed to rising rates of mental illness. Depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder have risen dramatically within the past few years. Through the psychology department at NIU, the Psychology Services Center offers various therapy sessions free to NIU students.

“My main goal is for people to realize that people can recover from mental illness and therapy can really help,” said Karen White, director of the Psychology Services Center.