LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – There is an invisible illness that affects 60 million Americans every year.

It’s a sickness that can’t be physically recognized, but it leaves internal scars within those who suffer from it.

Kevin Fischer is the executive director for the National Alliance on Mental Illness-Michigan, and he knows this disorder all too well.

He has a personal story and a professional mission to combat it.

The date was June 7, 2010. It was a day that Kevin Fischer says he’ll remember for the rest of his life.

It’s the day his son Dominique Fischer lost his battle to mental illness.

“Dominique had been diagnosed bipolar schizophrenic in late 2007”, said Fischer.

“And subsequently took his life.”

Kevin went on a search to find out how his son went from an accomplished student athlete to receiving psychiatric treatment.

Dominique was diagnosed after his parents noticed a change in his behavior when he came home for thanksgiving break.

“Frankly we thought he was under the influence of drugs, the way he was rambling on and he just wasn’t himself and we never seen him that way before”, noted Fischer.

Three years after his diagnosis, Dominique ended his life and his father went on a mission to honor his son’s memory through mental health advocacy.

He found healing in the National Alliance on Mental Illness, also known as NAMI.

NAMI’s mission is to educate people on psychological health defects while helping victims find treatment.

Kevin says his biggest obstacle as a mental health advocate is battling the stigma.

“We are very sensitive to when we hear anybody whether it’s in the media or in passing on the street when somebody refers to a person who’s living with a mental illness as crazy because they don’t deserve that level of disrespect.”

Mental health supporters say it’s important to start a conversation about mental health issues and to erase the stigmas associated with it.

Advocates say many people suffer in silence in a fear of how they may be viewed by society and as a result never get the treatment they need.

If you or someone you know is suffering from a mental illness help is available. Click here for more information.