Mental Health Month
The stigma of mental illness prevents many people from getting the help they need. Research demonstrates that people often delay, sometimes for decades, getting medical help for mental illness. In some communities, the people seek help even less. African Americans and Hispanics seek mental health services at about half the rate as Caucasians; Asian Americans seek help at about one-third the rate as Caucasians.
We wouldn’t expect our brother to ignore skin cancer, so how can we ask him to ignore his post traumatic stress disorder? Let’s encourage him to seek help. And we don’t make fun of or denigrate people with leukemia, so why do we ostracize people with mental illness? Let’s erase the stigma and help others find professional care.
Our strange acceptance of physical illness as “normal,” while having to hide mental illness as abnormal makes little sense and deepens the pain of families and communities. This vicious cycle of ignore-and-deny must end. We must begin to take steps toward mental health and wholeness.