The Face of Mental Illness is Not Evil

Recent conversations have led me to wonder what image pops into people’s heads when they think about mental illness. I fear that most people picture the likes of Hannibal Lecter, an evil, killing mastermind…

Mental illness affects approximately 1 in 5 adults; that equates to over 43 million American adults1. Additionally, 1 in 5 adolescents aged 13-18 and approximately 13% of children aged 8-15 experience a severe mental disorder at some point in their life2. These statistics alone should associate a child, sister, brother, uncle, aunt, friend, or neighbor as their image.

Mental illness knows no boundaries. It affects doctors, lawyers, teachers, homemakers, homeless, veterans, children, and adults and lack of treatment can have devastating outcomes. In Colorado, suicide is the leading cause of death for ages 10-173. Also, El Paso county, Colorado has recently led the country with the highest number of teen suicides3.

Mental illness hits much closer to home than anyone wants to acknowledge. However, given the statistics, it is time to take action. Be brave for those who suffer in silence.


  1. National Alliance on Mental Illness. (n.d.). Mental health by the numbers. Retrieved September 09, 2018, from
  2. National Institute of Mental Health. (n.d.). Prevalence of any mental disorder among adolescents. Retrieved September 09, 2018, from
  3. National Alliance on Mental Illness Colorado Springs. (2016, October 21). Suicide rates in El Paso County focus of Newsweek article. Retrieved September 09, 2018, from

Erin Recinos, MSN, APRN, PMHNP-BC

Erin Recinos, MSN, APRN, PMHNP-BC is a board-certified Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP-BC). She has served the mental health community for over 10 years in various capacities. Erin is proud to have served as a Medic in the United States Air Force.

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