Video created to illustrate impact of mental health conditions in Michigan

May 18, 2015 by

Jay Green – May is Mental Health Awareness month. One in five people are estimated to have some kind of mental health condition. However, many people do not seek treatment because of an ongoing stigma associated with mental health.

A 30-minute video created to increase awareness of the range and seriousness of mental health conditions in Michigan has been released in conjunction with the annual meeting of the Michigan Association of Community Mental Health that begins today in Grand Rapids.

The video – “Opening Minds – Ending Stigma” – features personal stories of how mental health illness, and in some cases suicides, has affected relatives and several well-known politicians, executives, soldiers, policemen, judges and average folks of all ages in Michigan.

Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow’s father, Robert Lee Greer, suffered from bipolar disorder. She has championed mental health issues at the federal level.

“I saw firsthand what happens when you accurately diagnose and when there is hope,” Stabenow said in the video. “And now, we have even more hope. When we talk about someone who is bipolar we can manage that chemical imbalance in the brain just as we can manage” diabetes.

Tom Watkins, CEO of Detroit Wayne Mental Health Authority, talks about losing an older and younger brother to suicide.

“That is a powerful reminder of how debilitating and how this disease if not diagnosed, if not treated, if we have so much stigma, for these issues, that people wont reach out and get the help we need,” said Watkins. “It can have deadly consequences … It doesn’t just impact brothers and immediate family, it impacts a whole lot of people.”

Watkins said there will be a number of activities this month in Michigan and Wayne County to increase awareness of mental health issues.

Others featured in the video are Republican Lt. Governor Brian Calley, Nick Lyon of the Department of Health and Human Services and First Lady Michelle Obama.

There is a strong segment about Heinz Prechter, founder of American Sunroof Co., who took his life on July 6, 2001, after suffering from years of bipolar disorder. In his honor, his widow, Waltraud “Wally” Prechter, has established the Heinz C. Prechter Bipolar Research Fund at the University of Michigan Health System.

The documentary was produced through a partnership of the Flinn Foundation and the Detroit Wayne Mental Health Authority. It will air on CBS-Detroit Ch 62 on May 23 at 7 p.m.. However, it can be downloaded now on UTube.

Source: Video created to illustrate impact of mental health conditions in Michigan – Crain’s Detroit Business

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