Mental illness is common in our society. One in five will be diagnosed in their lifetime and yet it is discussed in hushed tones and only when speaking of “others.” This discretion only amplifies the existence of the problem, leaving those dealing with the illness to also deal with keeping quiet about it. We, as a society, must find the strength to meet head on the issue of mental illness. One organization doing just that is the Silver Ribbon Coalition. They ask that all concerned people to:
To show you care about brain disorders or disabilities
To help break down barriers to treatment and support
To help eliminate the stigma against those who suffer
To show there is HOPE through education and research
Organizations across the nation are formulating plans to reduce the stigma. Here is an excerpt from Behavioral Healthcare about the launch of one such campaign.
We all know the statistics. We all know the urgency. If you are working in the behavioral health community, you are well aware of the urgent need for more facilities, more practitioners, more awareness, more everything! There were over 30,000 victims of suicide last year and the year before that and the year before that… We have a public health crisis and not enough people understand it.
Worse, many people are ashamed to admit that they have mental illness. At one of my recent talks, I asked the audience how many people there knew someone with mental illness. Over half the hands went up. Then I asked who in the audience has mental illness. Not one hand! We don’t just need to raise awareness of the need, we need to help people get comfortable talking about this. Mental illness is exactly that, an illness. It isn’t your fault, and like Heidi, you shouldn’t be ashamed.
To learn more, visit the Silver Ribbon website.