Mental illness awareness week starts with Tucson public forum - Tucson News Now

Mental illness awareness week starts with Tucson public forum

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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

This week, Oct. 6-14, is National Mental Illness Awareness Week. In Tucson, the Southern Arizona National Alliance on Mental Illness and the Bipolar Support Alliance hosted a public forum Sunday discussing mental illness at the Loft Cinemas.

Michelle Lynn has been diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder, "If one day I'm the life of the party and the next day I have to cancel, they know what's going on with that." Lynn says it can be difficult at times, but says thanks to treatment and support, she is able to live a normal life, "I have a son and his family is very supportive."

Psychiatrist Dr. Karen Weihs, says mental illnesses impact people as such, "The person is not functioning because of thoughts feelings and behaviors that are getting in their way."

Dr. Weihs tells us it is no one's fault if they suffer with a mental illness. However, Dr. Weihs also says mental illness can become harmful if left untreated.

Movie director Doug Blush showed his documentary, Of Two Minds at Sunday's public forum to teach people about mental healthcare. Blush says his movie portrays the lives of people living with Bipolar disorder. "So many people who've come up to us and said this film is the first time I've seen myself on screen portrayed how life really is," Blush said about the feedback he gets.

As for the future of mental healthcare, Dr. Weihs is optimistic. "The affordable care act is going to be a major thing in terms of increasing medicaid eligibility and also providing insurance for people who are low income," Weihs said.

For a list of mental illness awareness week events in Southern Arizona, visit

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