You might know Wil Wheaton from Stand By Me or Star Trek: The Next Generation; you might laugh along with him as he plays tabletop games with his friends on TableTop from the Geek & Sundry network on YouTube. But what you might not know about Wil is that he suffers from mental illness. He recently opened up in a video for Project UROK (pronounced You Are Okay), a non-profit organization dedicated to reaching out to teens and young adults suffering from mental illness and removing the stigma associated with it.
More and more people are coming forward with their stories of living with mental illness. According to the CDC (Centers For Disease Control And Prevention), " It is estimated that only about 17% of U.S adults are considered to be in a state of optimal mental health." The study also found that depression is the most common form of mental illness, affecting 26% of U.S. adults and that by the year 2020, depression will be the second leading cause of disability in the world.
Other videos on the Project UROK website include writer/performer Mara Wilson talking about anxiety, NBC producer Jake Plunkett addressing male anorexia and comedian Myq Kaplan speaks about being a friend to those with mental illness and working for a suicide hotline.
The basic message of these videos is to let people who are suffering know that they aren't alone; they shouldn't be ashamed of their illness and that they are okay. This is a message that is becoming more and more prevalent as discussion about mental illness becomes less taboo.
It takes so much courage to talk so plainly about mental illness and want to reach out and help others who are suffering. If you have experience with mental illness and would like to reach out, you can submit your own video to Project UROK and help others who may be struggling.