Mental disorders are among the most common causes of disability. The resulting disease burden of mental illness is among the highest of all diseases. In any given year, an estimated 18.1% (43.6 million) of U.S. adults ages 18 years or older suffered from any mental illness and 4.2% (9.8 million) suffered from a seriously debilitating mental illness (National Institute of Mental Health). 

Major depression impacted our executive director's life on three different occasions. She first experienced depression at age 17. By age 32, she found herself dealing with depression for a second time. She received medicine to fight the illness and somehow managed to cope with life and depression until she reached age 40. Her bout with major depression at age 40 debilitated her. She found herself in a pit of despair. She endured extensive therapy with a psychologist and had to enlist the help of a psychiatrist for medication. She functions daily with medication and desires to help others who experience depression. She regards herself as a "miracle". Despite the mental illness, she suffers physically with osteoarthritis, spina bifida occulta, and other ailments. Nonetheless, she fights daily to share her story and to advocate for mental health and self-love. Self-Love is personal to her. She insists that she had to find and activate #selflove within herself before she found a place of peace in her life. Illnesses and traumatic experiences transformed her life and did affect her in negative ways. She does not let her setbacks, negative experiences, and/or mental illness stop her. She's determined to erase the stigma attached to receiving mental health counseling. She shares as a preventative method. She desires to help others who suffer in silence. She states that she continues to heal by sharing and helping others who suffer with mental illness. She delights in knowing that she discovered her purpose in life after sorting those negative thoughts and unlearning so many traumatic and debilitating behaviors. 

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