Out of the Shadows: A young girl's struggle with the stigma associated with mental illness

October 12, 2011

By Aurora Aguilar

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(Photo courtesy of Shakena)
Shakena's story is part of the new 'Out of the Shadows' series on mental health.

Earlier WBEZ series, Fifty-Fifty and Inside and Out, revealed that mental illness causes some kids to drop out of school and others to end up in jail: The new series Out of the Shadows continues that reporting. Over the next weeks, the series will explore how bipolar and anxiety disorders, schizophrenia and other illness affect one's success in school, life and the home.

Contributors will take a look at the gaps in mental health care services for Illinois youth and learn who’s picking up the slack. On Eight Forty-Eight, Aurora Aguilar shared an example of the types of people featured in the series. Shakena iss 18 years old. She lives with her mother and takes care of her little brother. Her mental illness is both genetic and environmental. She’s endured significant violence and abuse in her young age. More than anything, Shakena wants to get on with her life, get through college and deal with her symptoms in her own way--but her double diagnosis and her family history didn't help.

Out of the Shadows will explore the fractures in mental health care for children in Illinois and illuminate how it affects our youth.

The Out of the Shadows kicks off Monday. On Friday, listeners will meet Joey, who’s finding the silver lining in bipolar disorder.

Out of the Shadows is supported in part by the TPC Foundation, a family foundation of Exron Capital Inc.

Music Button: Explosions in the Sky, "Human Qualities", from the album Take Care Take Care Take Care, (Temporary Residence)
 

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