According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), one in five adults in the United States suffer from mental illness, but roughly half of these people struggle in silence. The stigma surrounding mental illness has prevented thousands of people from seeking help, and promoted the false belief that mental illness is not a real disease. So how can we erase that stigma? By giving a voice to those who experience mental illness so that we can educate ourselves and others.
The “Beginning Memoirs on Mental Illness” below is a collection of award-winning memoirs that provide readers with firsthand accounts of people living with mental illness. More of these memoirs are divided into the above sections: depression, schizophrenia, and anxiety-related disorders. The “Past Perceptions of Mental Illness” section is a series of works, some of which readers might be familiar, that portray mental illness incorrectly. It’s important to acknowledge how mental illness was viewed in the past so that we can better understand how it functions today.