I have watched far too many loved ones suffer from mental illness. A very small number of them have found real help or tangible support. Most people suffering from mental illness fall through the cracks and wind up leading lives of utter despair and hopelessness. Most of us are related to people living in these horrible situations. My wife is an Licensed Clinical Social Worker and I have watched her work tirelessly with homeless veterans and sexually abused children throughout her career. I attend and am a member of the National Alliance on Mental Illness working to help prevent some of these people from falling through the cracks.  We need to help more. For too long, the United States and its leaders have neglected mental health and remained silent as millions suffer on the streets, in jails, or linger without treatment. Studies show that approximately 44 million Americans (or 1-in-5 adults) suffer from a serious mental illness, 90% of those who commit suicide each year have an underlying mental illness, and that the mentally ill die an average of 25 years earlier than their peers, often cycling between prisons and homelessness. Annually, serious mental illness costs the United States over $193 billion in lost earnings and productivity. Despite the severe emotional and financial costs associated with mental illness, a needless stigma surrounds the issue and has caused America to shy away from openly discussing simple solutions

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