Nearly 20 percent of Americans have a mental illness

Nearly 20 percent of Americans have a mental illness

 Many people who suffer from mental illness go to great lengths to disguise it.

Many people who suffer from mental illness go to great lengths to disguise it.

by Debbie Williams —

Bi-polar disorder, depression, schizophrenia, anxiety, eating disorders and obsessive-compulsive disorder are just some of the mental illnesses that afflict millions of people. What are the causes and how can they be helped?

This subject touches very close to home for me, and I am sure many reading this article will feel the same way. With the recent tragic death of actor Robin Williams, I would think that many people are having conversations about mental illness. As someone who has struggled with depression in the past, I am happy to see people openly talking about it more and more. It should not be the white elephant in the room.

How is it that a man whose name is synonymous with joy and laughter and who was so loved by millions was brought to such a hopeless place that he ended his own life? The answer is mental illness. Many people who suffer from mental illness go to great lengths to disguise it. Newsweek reported this year that nearly one in five Americans suffers from mental illness.

Last month, my husband’s 49-year-old sister committed suicide. My husband and I wake up every morning playing the proverbial “what if” game. What could we have done to save her life? The signs were there; she suffered for years with bi-polar disorder. We saw her go through personality changes and crazy highs and lows. She would often go on spending frenzies, yet did not have the income to substantiate the spending.

Before her suicide, she went missing until the police finally found her in a mental institution in another state. Afterward, she was put on a strong medication, which took her to a very dark place. The week before she took her own life, she admitted herself into a hospital for suicidal tendencies, but the hospital released her after two nights. I researched the drug she was prescribed and found that the risk of suicide was doubled while taking it.

Then there is the suicide epidemic among our military heroes. Tragically, last year more active-duty soldiers committed suicide than died in combat. How can this be?

What can you do to help your loved one suffering from mental illness? It is so important to be supportive, even as difficult as it may sometimes be. Tell your loved one you understand their real illness is what is causing the highs and lows and outbursts or withdrawals. Let them know their life is important to you and you can get through this together.

Did you know that as many as 20 percent of people in the United States have mental illness? Many years ago we were visiting friends in Seattle and, while at a restaurant, I remembered I had forgotten to take my antidepressant. I pulled it out of my purse and my one friend said, “Oh! The happy pill,” and he pulled his same purple pill out. Then his wife reached for hers. My husband said, “Three out of four people sitting at this table are taking antidepressants?”

These drugs are strong and potentially lethal. My own experience tells me that you do not want to miss a dose or it can lead to suicidal thoughts. And I recall weaning myself off the drug was no walk in the park. Thank goodness I have added a supplement that has helped me become antidepressant free.

How was I able to do this? I started taking beta glucan supplements. More than 12,000 peer-reviewed studies on beta glucan have been performed during the last 50 years. I called the manufacturer who explained that the immunomodulator would help my immune system with the inflammation pain, high blood pressure, allergies and immune system issues I had — but relieving depression?

Depression is not an immune issue, or is it? His reply to me was my body was out of balance and now is “in balance” and other things such as depression benefitted from the beta glucan. I am not a doctor and cannot explain why this is, but intuitively, it made sense.

In my opinion, beta glucan is the most significant health supplement out there. Plus it is affordable, even though only 10 years ago one capsule cost $200. Neither my husband nor I have been sick in more than three years. I am a person who usually had strep throat every winter, and we both regularly took steroids for allergies — no more.

My family and I will take beta glucan for the rest of our lives. Most people only start taking it after they have become ill, but the optimal time to take it is when you are healthy to help keep you healthy. My first choice for a health supplement is beta glucan; my second choice is a good probiotic.

Beta glucan attaches itself to a receptor on the neutrophil cell (your most abundant white blood cell) and essentially becomes a fighter cell killing cancer, fungus, viruses and the bad cells in your blood.

Our bodies are under attack more than ever from the chemicals sprayed on the foods we eat, chemicals we put on our bodies, such as sunscreen, which can contain petrochemicals, and chemicals and toxins in the air we breathe.

A university professor stated at a meeting I attended that most beta glucan products found in health food stores are so poor in quality as to be virtually worthless — so buyer beware, not all supplements are equal.

For information on how to get the number-one, university-tested beta glucan in the world, I can help you more than you know.

Disclaimer: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. If pregnant or lactating, consult a physician before using.


Debbie Williams is an immune health coach and is currently studying to become a certified nutrition coach. 623-444-0557, or

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 33, Number 5, October/November 2014.

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