Tomorrow marks the end of the 2010 Mental Illness Awareness Week, and on Sunday our local PBS station will air "Unlisted: A Story of Schizophrenia." Schizophrenia is, of course, only one type of mental illness, and the possible causes of mental illness are as diverse — and sometimes mysterious — as the potential treatments. While there is probably less stigma today toward mental illness than in previous generations, and more national recognition about the complexity of the issue, there is still much work to be done to incorporate into our communities those struggling with mental illness.
As Catholics we are called first and foremost to remember that all people are created in the image of God, and so it is appropriate that the resources from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops for those struggling with mental illness fall under their division of pro-life activities. Often the Catholic understanding of being pro-life is truncated to mean the unborn. However, weeks of awareness like these remind us that the dignity of the unborn extends through the full, natural life of all of humanity. Take some time to go through some of these resources and, if possible, reach out to someone in your community working to raise awareness and support for those affected by mental illness.