Friday, 5 October 2012



The more people talk about their mental health struggles, the more people come forward with their own stories. That is how public attitudes change and, as I wrote the other day, we're witnessing that with increasing frequency.

Two media stories confirm this. MinnPost's David Brauer, for example, has the story of KQRS's Mike Gelfand, Tom Barnard's sidekick, who reveals his struggles...

"It's a cliché, but I lived in the shadow of madness and despair as long as I can remember," Gelfand says. "I've tried to look back a few generations and I've found madness, depression and suicide at every single branch of the family tree."
In the course of researching a memoir, Gelfand discovered he had a great aunt who "spent her entire life in an insane asylum. I had never heard of this person." His mother was an "extreme depressive." An older brother killed himself a dozen years ago after battling a heroin addiction for decades.

At a fundraising walk a few weeks ago for the National Alliance on Mental Illness Minnesota (disclaimer: my wife is on the board), local meteorologist Ken Barlow stood before the crowd and acknowledged publicly for the first time that he struggles, too, with mental illness. The Pioneer Press has the profile...

"When I was standing up there, I was thinking, these people came here to end the stigma of mental illness, and I'm up here living one -- I'm afraid of this stigma," Barlow said during an interview this week in a Minneapolis coffee shop near KSTP. "I thought as I was on that stage two weeks ago, I'm not going to do this anymore, I'm not going to be ashamed. Two million people have this in the country, and millions of others deal with depression and other forms of mental illness. I'm not alone."

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