Seven new bills signed into law in wisconsin this
year are aimed at strengthening mental health care.
They range from increased training for those who work
with the mentally ill.
to helping those who struggle with that health issue
But one thing they don't address.
is the stigma that goes along with mental illness.
News 8's Mark McPherson joins us in our studio with
Living with mental illness can be difficult.
But for many.
just talking about mental
health issues can be uncomfortable
It's that stigma that at times keeps communities from
devoting the resources needed to treat mental health.
And it can even keep patients from seeking care.
- Everyday when I'm at work, I have to be on my toes.
As a peer specialist for mental health.
Julia McDermid knows how important it is to help others
get the help they need.
- People who are solid in their recovery can be a
really strong link to people who are out there suffering
and trying to get into therapy, or trying to commit
to working some form of therapy.
But that's not an easy commitment to make, it's not
easy for people to admit they need help, especially
when their disease is working against them.
- When you're depressed or your emotions are out of
control or your thoughts are confused it can sometimes
be hard to be really resourcesful for yourself.
When McDermid says that, she knows first-hand.
McDermid is herself.
suffering from a serious mental health problem.
- I openly admit to having borderline personality
Before being diagnosed in 2005.
McDermid struggled with even the idea that she could
- You went through high school, you went through college,
you have a college degree, you've had jobs, really
good jobs, why is this happening now? Why can't you
figure this out for yourself.
McDermid says it took several years but she is in
a stable recovery.
thanks to her doctors at mayo clinic health system.
But taking that first step for care.
- You're battling a lot of things, you're battling
G - The stigma prevents a lot of people from getting
Even though mental illness is just that.
it's often misunderstood and can carry with it shame.
creating a barrier to treatment.
- Coming out with a mental illness can be a delicate
dance for people and that's unfortunate, can you imagine
if you were afraid to talk about cancer or heart disease?
- I think it's really important that we get out there
and let people know that these are illnesses just
like any other type of, you know, what we see as physical
The seven new bills signed by the governor this year
is a step in the right direction.
and now a new facility in la crosse.
Unlike what you might expect for a mental health facility
Could be an indication that things are changing.
If we can offer that dignity and respect and take
some of that stigma away from the past, that's really
what we're looking for.
That new building is part of Gundersen Health System's
We'll take a closer look.
and get a better idea of overall care in la crosse.
tomorrow night at ten.
All seven bills passed both chambers of the Wisconsin
legislature this year almost unanimously.