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Eliminating The Stigma Of Mental Illness

PITTSBURGH (NewsRadio 1020 KDKA)- Mental illness can affect anyone at any time, but unfortunately people who suffer from it are often associated with a negative stigma.

KDKA's Chris Moore decided to talk to co-author of "Nothing to Hide: Mental Illness in the Family" Peggy Gillespie and long-time caller Sandra Bey about the steps they have taken to eliminate the stigma associated with mental illness and how those individuals can find support and treatment.

As a social worker, Gillespie saw mental illness firsthand and wanted to help "bring mental illness out of the shadows."

She says she realized that many people do not have enough facts and impose judgment on those suffering from illnesses such as depression or bipolar disorder.

To help spread more knowledge of these illnesses, Gillespie created traveling exhibits that display photos and interviews of families that have a member with mental illness.

"These exhibits are showcased in schools, libraries, museums, etc. They help empower those who suffer by showing their stories and also giving the media a chance to become involved," explained Gillespie.

The exhibits were so successful, that Gillespie decided to write a book highlighting what is showcased in the exhibits.

Bey added that the exhibits and the book allow "you to enter the hearts and minds of the people who cope with mental illness and see their world."

Gillespie says those with mental illness are also discriminated against when it comes to seeking treatment.

"Medical insurance usually only covers a limited number of mental illness cases, so there is discrimination in care and limited treatment options available," Gillespie said. "But, Obamacare is supposed to make some provisions and start treating mental illness like any disease."

This means that patients may be able to better afford treatment and also have continued care for the long run.

Listen to Chris Moore Sunday nights from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. on NewsRadio 1020 KDKA.

Peggy Gillespie

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