Author John Shuchart’s motivation for writing You are not the brightest of my four sons comes from a heartfelt desire to help fight, and eventually end, the stigma associated with mental illness. In recovery from depression, John understands the reluctance and the vulnerability that accompanies “coming out,” as he refers to it. His message is that people must understand that mental illness is a biological disorder. It is an illness, like cancer, diabetes and countless other conditions, and there is no reason to be embarrassed about having a mental illness.
However, the stigma exists. And the result is that many people are too embarrassed to talk about their illnesses for fear of being shunned by family and friends. Consequently, they never get the support and treatment they need to get better.
In his effort to fight the stigma, John created The Shuchart Foundation and has become a very visible advocate for mental health in his home community of Kansas City. He is on the state board of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)–Kansas, and is also active in the Greater Kansas City Mental Health Coalition, a group of nonprofits and business organizations all committed to fighting the stigma and encouraging people to talk about their illness.