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Doctors: mental illness is common, urge not being afraid and instead normalize conversation around it

The National Institute of Mental Health says nearly one in five adults lives with a mental illness.

GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. — Throughout the country, mental illness is more common than you might think.

The National Institute of Mental Health reports nearly one in five adults live with it.

"It's just we don't talk about them, we don't hear about it unless it's a celebrity that's facing a crisis," said SAVE Executive Director Dan Reidenberg. 

SAVE is a non-profit dedicated to preventing suicide for more than three decades.

"Mental health needs to be normalized in the sense that we can get help for it, we can do something about it if we catch it early, if we recognize some of the things that are happening," said Reidenberg.

He says it's imperative to shed the stigma around mental conditions from depression to schizophrenia, to hopefully encourage people to open up about it.

"They can still be in a relationship, they can still work and still have a full and productive life; we just need intervention," said Reidenberg.

He admits there's a shortage of hospital beds, providers and therapists. But points to each other as a key role in helping someone who's struggling, but not necessarily in crisis mode.

"Most of us when we’re having a hard time, just going through our day are kind of in the middle and that’s where most of us live," said Reidenberg.

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He says it's why people shouldn't be afraid of an illness, rather be a good listener for someone long before they have to seek out professional help.

"We know that often times, most of the time, people just need someone to talk to," said Reidenberg. "If you can listen, if you can be supportive and just be present and you can know some resources, you can have a major impact in saving somebody's life."

If you or someone you know needs help, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources throughout the United States. 

988 has been designated as the new three-digit dialing code that will route callers to the Lifeline or you can call 1-800-273-8255.

The Crisis Text Line is another resource that serves anyone, in any type of crisis, providing access to free, 24/7 support via a medium people already use and trust: text. 

Just text HOME to 741741 to reach a crisis counselor.

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