Erasing the Distance


Mental Health Resources

Here you will find four sections to explore – answers to common questions, resources for all the major mental illnesses, teen-friendly information, and web links specifically helpful to college students. We hope you will find this page a source of support as you embark on the healing process for yourself or with those you love.

Common Questions

How many people are affected?
1 in 4 people will live with a mental disorder this year.
Is mental illness my fault? Can I just push through it?
Mental illnesses are biologically based brain disorders. They cannot be overcome through “will power” and are not related to a person’s “character” or intelligence.
Do mental health issues affect one group more than another? I have heard they are more prevalent among white people.
Mental health issues do not discriminate. People of all ages, races, cultures, genders, faith groups, and classes can and do experience such things as depression, anxiety, and addiction.
When is the typical onset of mental illness?
50% of people with mental illness experience their first episode by the age of 14; 75% do by the age of 24.
I feel like I have had depression for most of my life. Why am I only getting help now?
Despite effective treatments, there are long delays-sometimes decades-between first onset of symptoms and when people seek and receive treatment. Stigma, lack of information and education about mental illness, thinking we can handle it on our own, and fear of being judged can all stand in the way of getting help. Know that you are not alone!
What’s the best course of treatment for mental illness?
The best treatments for serious mental illnesses today are highly effective; between 70 and 90 percent of individuals have significant reduction of symptoms and improved quality of life with a combination of pharmacological and psychosocial treatments and supports.
Is it only mental illness if my case is severe?
Mental illness exists on a spectrum. Some people live with severe and chronic illnesses which require treatment with such things as medication, intensive therapy, case management, and hospitalization. Others may be living with mental illness but still function at a high level. Each person is different and requires a uniquely tailored approach to recovery.
When does something I am experiencing "qualify" as a mental illness?
That is a difficult question to answer. However, one industry standard is to assess if the intensity, duration, and quality of your "symptoms" disrupt your ability to function. This can include your ability to work, go to school, establish and maintain healthy relationships, and take care of your own physical and emotional well-being.

Illness-specific Resources

Anxiety Disorders Association of America is the only national nonprofit organization solely dedicated to informing the public, health care professionals, and the media about Anxiety Disorders.
The Anxiety and Agoraphobia Treatment Center in Northbrook, Illinois, is a specialty clinic that has been serving children, teens and adults who suffer from anxiety disorders, phobias, obsessive compulsive spectrum disorders (Tourette’s Syndrome, tics, body focused repetitive disorders such as compulsive skin picking and trichotillomania) and body dysmorphic disorder since 1983. The Anxiety and Agoraphobia Treatment Center also offers house calls and out of office exposure sessions.
Calm Clinic organizes some of the most important facts about how to treat anxiety and how to get help. It explains some methods anxiety sufferers can try themselves and also discusses various other treatment possibilities.

Autism-Spectrum (including Asperger’s)
Is dedicated to providing information and advice to families of more advanced individuals with Autism, Asperger syndrome, and Pervasive developmental disorder (PDD).
The nation’s leading grassroots autism organization which exists to improve the lives of all affected by autism and autism-spectrum disorders.
Little Friends is a private, non-profit organization serving children and adults with autism and other developmental disabilities based in Naperville.

Bipolar Disorder
Full of valuable resources such as bipolar screenings, on-line support groups, and search tools for peer-recommended doctors.
A comprehensive site for information on bipolar disorder
A comprehensive resource for families of youth with mood disorders

Borderline Personality Disorder
National Education Alliance for Borderline Personality Disorder is a resource designed to inform the public about Borderline Personality Disorder.

An educational campaign that creates understanding of the essential facts regarding depression.
A very helpful site geared specifically to help men understand how depression can show up in their lives.
A very helpful site geared specifically to help men understand how depression can show up in their lives.
Full of valuable resources such as screenings, online support groups, and search tools for peer-recommended doctors.

Eating Disorders
ANAD is the oldest non-profit organization dedicated to alleviating the problems of eating disorders in the U.S.
NEDA is dedicated to providing education, resources and support to those affected by eating disorders.
N.A.M.E.D.‘s mission is to provide support to males with eating disorders & to educate the public on the issue.
Binge Eating Disorder Association (BEDA) helps those who have binge eating disorder, their friends and family, and those who treat the disorder.
EDReferral is the most comprehensive and easiest to search database of anorexia, bulimia, and other eating disorder treatment professionals in the world.
COR Retreat is a 5-day retreat program in Minnesota for helping people overcome compulsive overeating and food addiction.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
Offers valuable facts about OCD, suggestions for treatment, high quality, user-friendly resources, and articles from experts as well as stories from people who live with OCD.
The Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Research Clinic works to improve current treatments, develop and test novel treatments, and determine the brain basis of OCD.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
Serves as a gateway to four nonprofit sites that offer comprehensive PTSD information and resources.

Offers information, free education classes and support groups for consumers and family members of those with mental illnesses, including schizophrenia.
Provides high quality information, support and education to loved ones whose lives have been impacted by schizophrenia.

S.A.F.E. ALTERNATIVES is a nationally recognized treatment approach, professional network, and educational resource base, which is committed to helping you and others achieve an end to self-injurious behavior.
Self Mutilators Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other, that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from physical self-mutilation.
Is a website for Cornell University’s research program on self-injurious behavior. This site is intended to summarize their work and to provide links and resources for information of value in understanding, detecting, treating, and preventing self-injurious behavior (SIB) in adolescents and young adults.

Substance Addiction & Dual Diagnosis
Provides access to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.
For over 50 years, Al-Anon (which includes Alateen for younger members) has been offering hope and help to families and friends of alcoholics.
Alcoholics Anonymous’ web site includes information to locate AA groups in your area.
Narcotics Anonymous' website includes information on narcotics based support groups.
The National Association for Children of Alcoholics (NACoA) is the national nonprofit membership and affiliate organization working on behalf of children of alcohol and drug dependent parents.
The Addiction Project (produced by HBO) brings together many of America’s top addiction experts to demystify this much misunderstood disease.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration works to improve the quality and availability of substance abuse prevention, alcohol and drug addiction treatment, and mental health services.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse’s site includes a vast array of educational materials about specific drugs as well as the consequences, prevention and treatment of drug abuse. The site includes resources for young people, parents, teachers, researchers, physicians and other health professionals.
Is a website for Dual Recovery Anonymous, a support group for people living with both a psychiatric diagnosis and a substance abuse diagnoses.

Teen-friendly Resources

The Covenant House NINELINE makes it possible for young people throughout the United States and its territories to gain immediate access to Covenant House crisis and counseling services 24/7. In addition to providing critical help to young people in need, the Covenant House NINELINE also is a resource for parents seeking guidance about difficult family situations or for those looking for a runaway child. 1-800-999-9999.

In 1997, The Jason Foundation was founded in response to the loss of Jason Flatt - age 16 - to the tragedy of youth suicide. JFI's mission is to provide information, tools and resources to confront the "silent epidemic" and prevent the tragedy of youth suicide.

A mental health site for teens developed by the Adolescent Mental Health Initiative. Dedicated to helping teens learn how to cope with stress, take care of themselves, and understand the facts about mental health issues.

TeensHealth was created for teens looking for honest, accurate information and advice about health, relationships, and growing up. We offer a safe, private place that’s accessible 24 hours a day to get the doctor-approved info you need to understand the changes that you (or your friends) may be going through – and to make educated decisions about your life.

Focus Adolescent Services is the largest and most comprehensive Internet site of information and resources on teen and family issues to help and support families with troubled and at-risk teens.

College-friendly resources

Active Minds is the only organization working to utilize the student voice to change the conversation about mental health on college campuses, by developing and supporting chapters of a student-run mental health awareness, education, and advocacy groups on campuses nationwide.

Yellowbrick is a private, physician-owned and operated psychiatric health-care organization whose mission is to provide a full-spectrum, specialized approach to the emotional, psychological and developmental challenges of emerging adults.

The Jed Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to reducing the young adult suicide rate and improving the mental health safety net provided to college and university students nationwide. The Satow family established The Jed Foundation after the loss of their son and brother, Jed, a sophomore in college.

Through Half of Us, mtvU and The Jed Foundation want to initiate a public dialogue to raise awareness about the prevalence of mental health issues on campus and connect students to the appropriate resources to get help.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness – Greater Chicago’s website for college students raising awareness of the mental health resources, services, and support to be found specifically on Chicago’s campuses.

General Support

For information, education, support, and the latest research and news regarding mental illness, check out the following links: