One in four American adults over the age of 18 suffer from a diagnosable mental illness (NIHM, Kessler et al., 2005). 26.2 percent of the population. 57.7 million people.
Mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, sons, daughters, partners, husbands, wives, children, cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents, coworkers, friends, neighbors, strangers. Depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, anxiety disorders, post traumatic stress disorder, eating disorders, personality disorders, phobias, autism, panic disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, Asperger’s syndrome, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, Alzheimer’s…
People suffering from a mental illness represent a sort of invisible diversity. They may feel alone or different, but they need to know that there are millions of other people in our world who also have a mental illness. I chose a symbol, a computer emoticon, which reaches across languages to represent diversity through mental illness. Three happy smileys and one unhappy smiley. A reminder that one out of every four people you meet suffers from some form of mental illness.
Leslie Mollner, Librarian, Interlibrary Loan and Reference