NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – A forthcoming book from a New York State physician seeks to further open the dialog over mental health.

Dr. Lloyd Sederer is the medical director of the New York State Office of Mental Health and the author of “The Family Guide To Mental Health Care.”

In an interview with CBS 2’s Cindy Hsu, Sederer said mental health is an issue everyone can relate to.

“Tens of millions of American families are affected by mental illness,” Sederer told Hsu.

Sederer said 50 million Americans have a mental illness every year.

“Virtually no family is untouched, is unfamiliar with a person with a mental illness,” Sederer told Hsu. “That’s why they’re not alone.”

He noted that time is the most important indicator in determining whether someone is facing a mental health issue or just dealing with a passing phase.

Sederer said anyone going through a tough time should seek out someone to talk to, whether it be a doctor, a family member or a member of clergy.

The book tackles tough questions that often arise when dealing with mental health issues.

Sederer said when dealing with someone who does not want treatment, it is important not to get into an argument with them. He also said making observations rather than offering an opinion is a good way to start a conversation with someone who may need help.

“I believe that all behavior has a purpose,” Sederer said.

“The Family Guide To Mental Health Care,” will be available in book stores on April 15.

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