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    Posted May 11, 2014 by
    Gloucester, Massachusetts
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Going public with mental illness

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    In honor of Mother’s Day, I would like to introduce you to a  loving mom who has had to live with her son’s mental illness for years.  Her son was diagnosed with schizophrenia, but she could not find the  right treatment to help him recover from his mental illness until after a  devastating tragedy that almost took his life.


    Shortly  after her son graduated from high school in 2001, he suffered a  schizophrenic episode that caused him to jump off the A. Piatt Andrew  Bridge, an 80-foot drop to the Annisquam River below. Miraculously he  survived the jump, but he spent over a year recovering from his physical  injuries. He lost his left leg in the accident, “But the real tragedy  was that it took five more years of fighting the mental health system to  get the treatment he needed for his mental health.” replied Pacheco.


    Many  people with mental illness avoid getting help because of the stigma  attached to mental illness; but even those brave enough to seek  assistance, still have to fight negative stereotypes in order to receive  proper medical treatment. Family members struggling to help loved ones  with mental illness really have to rely on the medical community to  assist them with treatment, support and counseling. Ms. Pacheco reached  out to the National Alliance on Mental Illness for assistance and  encourages other families struggling with mental illnesses to reach out  as well. She feels indebted to NAMI and is pleased to announce her son  has not had any further schizophrenic episodes since he received the  proper medical treatment and support through NAMI. He is living a normal, happy life.


    Ms.  Pacheco has recently been appointed to the Board of Directors of The  National Alliance on Mental Illness. She currently leads support groups  to assist others struggling with disease and strives to educate the  public to remove the stigma of mental illness.


    After  her son was treated, Ms. Pacheco's experience inspired her to write a book entitled “FIRST BREAK Schizophrenia;  Recovery Is Possible” sharing her son’s heart-wrenching struggle with  schizophrenia. Her book was released on March 20, 2014 through Create  Space, a division of Amazon.com.


    Mental illness is  simply an illness affecting the brain and patients can have their  symptoms controlled through lifestyle changes, medication and medical  treatment. Her main message is “there is hope, and there is recovery  from schizophrenia.”

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