I know I’ve blogged on this before, but here’s another hearty Boo You! to everyone out there who keeps perpetuating the stigma against mental illness. You’ve heard it before: people who are mentally ill are just weak. They just need to snap out of it. A good attitude will fix everything. (I even saw someone say that this past week with regards to RAD. Really? My child has a serious brain wiring problem because I don’t have a good enough attitude, not because she experienced serious trauma in China? I practically gasped out loud when I read that. The utter ignorance of neuroscience and psychology is dumbfounding.)
The problem is– a good attitude will NOT fix everything. Trust me. If I could have wished myself out of depression I would have. If I could hug and kiss Bug’s RAD away I would. Trust me– I’ve tried. Mental illness of any type is an illness, one that needs medical treatment, not judgment. Treatment works, but according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (“NAMI”) nearly two-thirds of persons with mental illness fail to seek treatment, largely as a result of the stigma attached. The stigma is particularly acute in minority communities.
NAMI estimates that one in five people worldwide have a mental or neurological disorder at some point in their lives. 450 million people currently suffer from such conditionsplacing mental illness among the leading causes of ill-health and disability worldwide.
Why do we keep treating 20% of our fellow humans like they are weak and morally-bankrupt because they are unfortunate enough to have a mental illness? Can you imagine if persons with cancer were treated like this? There would be massive outrage.
Well I for one am outraged. Mental illness is exactly that. An illness. We as a society need to get off our butts and start acting like it. So, Boo You! stigma.
For more information, check out http://www.nami.org.