WBEZ's Out of the Shadows series looked to identify some factors that could exacerbate mental illness in teens--among them, sexuality. Straight or gay, coming to terms with one's sexuality is one of the biggest hurdles a teenager crosses.
Over time, society improved the way it understands and treats mental illness, but long-standing stigma can still be heard in everyday casual language. The stigma is heard in words like crazy, nutty, unbalanced or delusional.
Between 1995 and 2005, the number of adults in the nation diagnosed with bipolar doubled. In the same time-frame, the number of kids diagnosed as bipolar increased forty fold. Unchecked, the illness can deeply affect a child's ability to learn and care for themselves.
For a deeper look at the state of mental health services for children in Illinois as part of WBEZ's new series, Out of the Shadows, Eight Forty-Eight turned to two experts: Barbara Shaw chaired the task force that resulted in the Children’s Mental Health Act of 2003 and Mark Heyrma