SAN ANTONIO — May is Mental health awareness month. It's a topic so important, yet a discussion we are often afraid to have. Here in San Antonio, we have an amazing advocate for the cause in DeMar DeRozan, who opened up about his struggles in 2018. 

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, 1 in 5 Americans experience mental illness in a given year and 1 in 25 Americans experience serious mental illness that significantly interferes with one or more life functions. Also, according to a Pew Research poll, 70 percent of teenagers from the ages of 13-17 think anxiety and depression are major issues. That's number one on the list, above bullying by 15 percent. 

This illness isn't going away unless we break the stigma and allow others to feel loved when opening up about their well being. 

It is so they can get help. 

Some people out there who are suffering might feel like others won't listen or understand, but this was DeMar DeRozan's experience last year when publicly discussing his personal struggles with depression and anxiety.

DeRozan inspired others like Kevin Love to speak up about his struggles with anxiety and depression. This is Love's interview about his experience with mental illness:

You've probably never heard of NFL offensive lineman Cole Madison. The Washington State product was drafted by the Green Bay Packers in 2018. Getting drafted in the NFL was a childhood dream and yet, he wasn't happy. He knew he needed help and took a full year off from the NFL to take care of his mental health. 

One year later, he's back on the field doing what he loves and feeling like himself again.

"Biggest thing was reaching out and talking with someone," Madison said. "Reaching out and talking with someone for help--weekly, biweekly, monthly, until I was able to be by myself and take on things by myself. Men our age...starting that process is real tough. I'd make [my choice to sit out a year] again because it's the greatest decision I've ever made."

Greatest decision I ever made.

There are a plethora of testimonials out there with one resounding theme:

Asking for help works and it's OK. Asking for help saves lives and starts the process of healing.

Here's a link to donate to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

Here's a link to donate to Hilinski's Hope promoting mental wellness to college athletes.

If you are struggling with a mental illness please reach out to the San Antonio Counseling and Behavioral Center.

Break the Stigma
Use #breakthestigma on social media to continue advocating for this cause.
KENS-TV

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