Szabo confronted at an early age, the stigma of mental illness.
At sixteen years old he was a popular student leader and athlete.
Then he began suffering mood swings, depression, hallucinations
and other symptoms that led to a diagnosis of bipolar disorder.
He was hospitalized after wanting to take his own life, and after
his release, experienced the social isolation of the disease. His
college years were also filled with emotional setbacks, but Ross
eventually achieved the success of his dreams. This experience began
a ten-year mission to speak out about mental illness and reach young
people who are struggling to deal with their problems.
Ross visits high schools and college campuses around the country,
in an effort to banish misguided stereotypes about mental illness.
He wants young people to understand that mental illnesses should
be treated like any other medical problem, and that the people affected
can live happy and productive lives. He also believes that talking
about our problems is the first step to recovery. Ross’ message
is a timely one. Statistics show that one out of every five young
people in this country suffers from some sort of mental illness.
Suicide is third leading cause of death in high school students,
and the second leading cause in college-aged students.
In the WNED television production WHAT’S ON YOUR
MIND, Ross brings his personal story and inspirational
message to a studio audience of local teenagers. Speaking as the
Director of Youth Outreach for the National Mental Health Awareness
Campaign, Ross shares the details of his struggles with bipolar
disorder and the lessons he’s learned. He wants young people
to know that the time has come to change the way we deal with mental
health problems, help is available, and while we all may suffer
difficult times, “you don’t have to be a victim of your
past…you can be a survivor of the future.”
DID YOU KNOW?
- More than 19 million Americans suffer from a depressive illness.
- Women are twice as likely as men to suffer clinical depression.
- Mental illness affects 1 in 5 Americans.
- Most people with mental illness never seek help.
- Each year almost 5,000 people ages 15-24 commit suicide, making
it the third leading cause of death for adolescents.
In 1999, Nearly 20% of American High School Students Reported Having
Seriously Considered or Attempted Suicide During the Previous 12
More People Die From Suicide Than From Homicide Each Year.
80-90% of People Who Receive the Necessary Form of help Will Function