Mental illness and substance abuse are not the same issue, but the stigma affecting sufferers of both can be similar. That's why those dealing with mental illness are trying to change the public perception of their condition.
It's estimated 1 in 4 adults in the U.S. suffers from some kind of mental illness. And for many, the stigma and forced identity resulting from it can be overwhelming.
That's why conferences like Recovery and Beyond are held.
Through productive workshops and uplifting seminars, these conferences seek to empower those afflicted by mental illness to manage it and possibly overcome it by focusing on personal solutions, not personal problems.
"We focus on what's strong about that person and we support them to have a life that they want and they're motivated to self-manage." said event keynote speaker Larry Fricks.
Substance abuse was also a focal point of the conference. Mental health and substance abuse at a glance don't seem compatible, but society's attitude toward them can be similarly harsh.
Event coordinator Bob White found out firsthand in his past when a combination of both issues resulted in him being sent to a psychiatric ward.
"I owned my own bar and I had my own country western band, and they put me in a psych ward and they took my shoelaces and they took my razor. I had to ask people if I could shave and things like that. And it scared me." said White.
White also said its a myth that a high percentage of violent crime is committed by the mentally ill.
"Seven percent of crime, violent crime that's committed are committed by people with a mental illness." said White
And finally he suggested those afflicted should always look forward rather than back.
"If I can get suggested to be told, 'Why don't you try this?', and I try it, and it don't work... Well then we try something else, and we're always walking away from the illness instead of walking towards the illness." said White.