Millions of Americans are impacted by mental health condition. In fact, it is estimated that one in five Americans will be affected by a mental health condition at some point in their lives. Every American is impacted through their friends and family members. There is still a negative view of mental health problems in our country. This stigma can get in the way of seeking help or treatment. One of the most important things we can do is work to replace this stigma with hope.
Each of us can help change the way the world views mental health by helping create understanding and offering hope. Here are three of the most important things we can do:
Learn about mental health issues. Everyone knows a little bit about mental health issues. However, we often do not know all the facts. The more we learn about mental health issues, the more we can help educate others. Mental health issues are not the result of a person’s lack of character. They are not always a result of a bad childhood. There are many myths about mental health issues that cause the stigma. When we learn the facts we can help others to dispel false ideas about mental health conditions.
See the person and not the illness. Each person who is living with a mental health condition has their own story. They have each been on a difficult journey that says more about them than their diagnosis. We need to learn more than just their condition or what they are going through. We need to treat them with kindness and dignity. We need to offer empathy. We need to see that no two people are exactly alike, even if they have the same mental health condition.
Take action on mental health issues in our community. Mental health care systems are in crisis. There is a lack of funding, a lack of qualified staff and a lack of programs and resources in many communities. As a result, treatment and recovery may seem out of reach for many people that need help. We can help in many ways. We can push for better legislation and policies to improve lives for everyone. We can talk about it to increase awareness and show that this problem cannot be ignored. We can lend support to show this cause is important and desperately needed by millions of Americans.
More information on healthy living is available at the Whitley County Cooperative Extension Service at 549-1430; e-mail DL_CES_WHITLEY@EMAIL.UKY.EDU; or visit the office located at 4275 N. Highway 25W in Goldbug.