JOPLIN, MO.--- For Lisa Humphrey, living with a mental illness means taking life one day at a time.
"I have Skitso Effective disorder, and Bipolar, and PTSD," states Lisa Humphrey.
It's something she says few people who haven't experienced it understand.
"If someone finds out that I am mentally ill, they kind of shy away from me, they don't talk to me," states Humphrey.
It's a key reason the National Association for Mental Illnesses or NAMI has dedicated an entire week to fighting stereotypes and dispelling myths about people with mental illnesses.
"Mental Health Awareness Week is a very important week as well as just everyday in the life of somebody that has a mental illness but this week particularly we would like to focus on individuals with mental health disorders because they often don't have a voice," states Lisa Badgley, Adult Communication Service Director.
This week has been observed nationwide since the early 90's to encourage education on what has historically been a taboo topic.
"They are not educated enough, and all you have to do is get online on a computer and find out all the different diagnosis," states Badgely.
That's something experts say could pay off since mental illness has the potential to affect us all.
"There are other disorders that because of trauma, like with the Joplin tornado for example, post traumatic stress disorder has become very prevalent and individuals coming back from war. PTSD is a very common disorder that comes later in life," states Badgely.
And even if mental illness doesn't affect you specifically, learning a little compassion could go a long way.
"We are human too and we have feelings just like everyone else. And I am hoping and praying that everyone will take the time to get to know the mental illness a little bit better," says Humphrey.
And for people wanting to educate themselves about mental illness, the Joplin NAMI Office has an extensive library full of useful resources.