“With one in five individuals affected by some form of mental illness (and one in four in New Jersey), almost everyone has a loved one or knows someone with a mental illness or who struggles to cope with its effects,” says Brian Fitzgerald, president and ceo of Easterseals New Jersey. “Whether an individual has a severe form of mental illness or just simply depression or anxiety, it affects every aspect of their lives and the family and friends who love them.”
You probably know someone with a mental illness and don't even realize it. Mental illnesses do not discriminate - they can affect anyone.
At Easterseals, our mission to enable people to live, learn, work and play in their communities includes providing people with mental illness, and mental illness combined with chemical addictions, a safe, stable and supportive environment in which to live and receive the treatment and tools they need to put them back on a path to independence. See how Erik's life was transformed at Easterseals NJ's Behavioral Health Services.
It's also a responsibility that we take very seriously to ensure that everyone is educated about issues such as mental illness and that they know where to turn during times of hardship. Below is a list of resources - including Myths and Facts about Mental Illness - and who you can reach out to if you or a loved is in need of help:
800-985-5990 | toll free hotline available 24/7
What YOU Can Do to Learn More and Help Raise Awareness
Everyone can contribute to change. You can help remove barriers by accepting people with disabilities as individuals capable of the same needs and feelings as yourself, celebrate the skills and abilities - rather than the disabilities - of people who are different.
For example, people with disabilities go to school, get married, work, have families, do laundry, grocery shop, laugh, cry, pay taxes, get angry, vote, plan and dream just like everyone else.
And, if you are a teacher or have elementary-age children in your family, Easterseals FRIENDS WHO CARE® curriculum is designed to help children better understand what it means and how it feels to be a young person with a disability. This educational program made possible by the support of Friendly's Restaurants gives students the opportunity to learn what is involved when someone has a disability and how they adapt to live life, go to school, or work as independently as possible. Download the FRIENDS WHO CARE® curriculum
How is life different for families and the millions of adults living with a developmental disability in this country?
That's what Easterseals wanted to find out. Thanks to the generous support of MassMutual Financial Group, we worked with Harris Interactive to conduct our Living with Disabilities Study.
The study paints a startling picture of families’ life-long challenges surrounding everyday life and future concerns for parents of adult children with disabilities and adults with disabilities. Many parents worry their adult children’s basic needs for employment, housing, transportation, social interactions, recreation, healthcare and financial security will not be met:
Easterseals will use these findings to raise awareness of and advocate for the life-long services families desperately need -- working to lessen these disparities and bridge the gap for the many people living with developmental disabilities.
Download your copy of the study here and watch the press event video and hear from Joe Mantegna, from the popular TV show Criminal Minds and the father of an adult daughter with autism, talk about what autism means to his family.