Personal Experiences: Mental Illness & the Mental Health System
I just wanted to remind you of Mental Health Awareness Week (October 6-12th) that kicked off yesterday, Sunday morning. The past day has been geared toward reducing stigma of mental illness. But a lot of people are questioning the helpfulness of fighting against stigma. Some people have argued that advocating against stigma causes more stigma in and of itself. Other’s believe that severe mental illness is being undermined by the fight against stigma because anti-stigma campaigns actually pull our attention away from those individuals who are severely suffering or untreated. It’s something that we haven’t thought about too clearly and an issue that deserves more attention. J Rock Johnson, a NAMI supporter and contributor, explains more about this in the following article: Mental Illness Awareness Week Diverts Attention From Serious Mental Illness.
We rarely have a balanced view of mental illness, mental health treatment, or the system itself. It’s always black or white, yes or no, one dimensional. The topic of mental illness rarely includes balanced arguments among like-minds. Most people walk away from the discussion feeling persecuted, undermined, politically influenced, controlled, or completely ignored. The groups most likely to be ignored in discussions involving mental health are parents, families, caregivers, and ethnic minorities. Research shows that these individuals rarely have a place in the field of psychology or the mental health system.
For this reason and many more, I have reached out to a few families who have bravely shared their stories with me during an interview. You can visit my site Caregivers, Family, & Friends to read all of the stories that will be posted each day this week. The purpose of the articles is not so much to reduce stigma and raise awareness, but to provide a common ground.
Come join me!
- Mental Illness in Kids: The Surprising Warning Signs (everydayhealth.com)