The Cold Hard TruthMegan Reardon
Posted by: MReardon
Date: May 24 2023 9:42 PM
The month of May is observed as Mental Health Awareness Month, and we remember the tens of millions of Americans who live with mental health conditions and celebrate the mental health professionals that work to help those fighting these often-silent illnesses.
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, approximately 1 in 5 adults in the United States experience some form of mental illness in a given year. This is a total of 43.8 million people.
Let’s face the cold hard truth.
Mental illness is real.
Mental illness is scary.
Mental illness is a disease.
Mental illness can take lives just like any other disease can.
This month, let’s remember those who fight for their mental health and bring awareness to this very real issue.
Luckily, there are treatments for mental illness whether it be medications or seeing healthcare professionals like counselors or psychiatrists.
Each and every one of us deserves to live a happy life without battling depression, attention disorders, anxiety, or other mental illnesses.
Fear and misunderstanding often lead to prejudice towards people with mental health issues.
What can we do to help with the issue surrounding mental health? How can we stop the sigma?
For starters, we can wake up and realize this is a real issue. We can stop acting like just because you cannot “see” depression or any other mental issue, it is not there. We can stop telling people to just get over it and to continue living their lives.
We can raise awareness. We can openly talk about mental health issues. We can educate ourselves and others on the warning signs and symptoms of mental disease.
We can participate or volunteer in mental health awareness events. Raising awareness can be one of the best ways to stop the shame that many people feel when suffering from these diseases. We can also donate to organizations that support those with mental health disease.
We can seek help for ourselves or encourage others to seek help if they are not feeling just right. Healthcare providers can help people get past the feelings they have or the internal battles they are fighting. We can take mental health screenings if we are not feeling like we should or notice changes in our behavior.
We can have patience and stop judging those who may be fighting against these diseases. We can try to understand what they are going through. We can stop passing judgement just because someone may take medication or seek the help of counselors or other mental health professionals. It could be you one day. So many people do not get the help they need for their mental health because they are scared they will be looked at as weak or that they will be judged by others.
Perhaps, though, the most important and easiest way to help with and decrease mental illness is to simply be kind to others. We never know what people are going through. Some of the seemingly happiest people on the outside are the ones hurting the worst on the inside. Smile at strangers. Offer a helping hand. Give a hug when you feel someone could use one. Let people know you care about and are there for them. Check up on your family and friends. You never know when your acts of kindness or encouraging words could completely change someone’s life.
We can choose our words carefully. We never know when one negative comment or insult could send someone over the edge or cause them to become sicker. We need to support each other. Life is short.
Treat everyone with dignity and respect. Mental illness is only a small part of a person’s larger picture. We need to support each other.
We are all more than enough no matter our status in society, diagnosis, appearance, jobs or salary, background, or ability level. We are all equal. We all deserve happiness and healing no matter what illness we may suffer with or what has happened in the past.
Let’s work together to break the stigma and help those with these silent diseases.
Our mental health system is shattered. It is understaffed. It does not have the resources it needs. Too many people suffer, often silently. Lives and families are destroyed.
That, people, is the cold hard truth.
Let’s do what we can to turn around mental health.