SANDY, Utah (ABC4 News) – It’s World Mental Health Day and the National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI) says more than 47 million Americans experienced mental illness in 2018.
Eric Keil is one of those who live with mental illness.
He says it was in 2009 when he first noticed constant feelings of being sad and alone. It wasn’t until 2017 when he was officially diagnosed with clinical depression and anxiety.
“It can show up in the form of shakes, sweating, just excessive worry, as far as anxiety goes,” Keil said. “And depression can show up in feeling alone, feeling ultra-sad and like you don’t want to do anything or see anyone.”
Keil said living with his mental illness can be difficult to explain to others who’ve never experienced it.
“So, I’ve always struggled with suicidal thoughts on and off,” Keil said. “It’s been a big feature of my depression.”
Fortunately for Keil, his loved ones have been able to help him get through these difficult times.
“They were just there,” Keil said. “They didn’t have to say anything, they didn’t have to say the right thing.”
Keil is grateful his family has been there for him but recognizes not everyone is as fortunate.
“There are a lot of people who die by suicide who have a mental health condition,” Keil said. “I definitely feel lucky to be alive.”
NAMI reports one in five American adults experience mental illness every year.
Rob Wesemann, the executive director of the Utah NAMI, said while the numbers are important, it’s crucial to eliminate the mental illness stigma and help those around you who are suffering.
“If you notice something in a friend or family member, ask them how things are going, see if they want to go get a cup of coffee,” Wesemann said. “Just connect.”
If you or someone you know is struggling with mental illness, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255 (TALK).