It’s Mental Health Awareness Month! A nice cause with a good purpose. But for most who are made aware of it, I suspect it does not lead to much, except a general reminder that mental illness is out there, and we should care.
I’m asking you to do more though. I’m asking you to go the extra mile. If you are afflicted with any form of mental illness or have a loved one who is, you likely have an intimate understanding, but if not, I ask you to take the time to educate yourself. Please! By educating yourself, you are taking the first step in eliminating mental illness stigma.
So become knowledgeable about the various forms of mental illness.
Be able to recognize the warning signs of mental illness, thus leading to earlier intervention, diagnosis & treatment.
Help eliminate, or at least reduce the stigma that’s out there. There is so much social and even familial exclusion that stems from mental illness. Coping with mental illness is more possible through support & understanding. You can be a part of the solution.
You see, when greater understanding exists, the stigma goes away, and those afflicted are more likely to talk about their illness, get help for their illness, etc. It’s all about EMPATHY instead of SHAME.
Please read, learn and listen to those afflicted. Trust me, it sucks being afflicted, but conditions can be created around us that make things much better.
Do we stigmatize those unfairly inflicted with cancer, heart disease, etc? Of course not. Why do we stigmatize those inflicted with a mental illness? Because they act out, act strange, are reckless, etc.
Lives can be saved, and lives can be better if we are aware.
www.NAMI.org is a wonderful source for education. Read books, there are plenty out there. My personal favorite is “An Unquiet Mind”. Check it out.
Over the past couple years, I have had so many reach out to me saying they did not “get it” until a loved one experienced it. Why not learn now, regardless?
Thanks as always for listening, Suzy