Mental health is often stigmatized and treated like a secret no one must know about. It is just as important as physical health, and many people are affected by it personally, or know someone that has been affected. We can no longer put a hello-kitty band-aid on a wound that needs stitches. Internal pain that is dismissed gets worse over time, and it is not going to get better without the proper treatment, attention, care, and resources.
We talk about mental health because someone needs to know they are not alone. We talk about it because it is a silent killer whose signs and symptoms are ignored too often. We talk about mental health because it is not a fairy tale someone made up for attention. We are talking about life and death. A physical health problem gets treatment as soon as it is recognized. Likewise, if caught early, serious problems involving mental health can be avoided. A person diagnosed with stage 1 cancer does not wait until it is stage 4 to get treatment. A person suffering with mental health may not get this immediate treatment and may be afraid to speak up in fear of rejection, resentment or being seen differently.
Unfortunately, society does not do a good job portraying these issues and it is best understood by someone whose dealt with them first-hand to speak out. This can be as simple as greeting someone and asking, “How are you?” If they say good or fine, respond with the question, “Are you really?” Listen to them. This is the start of acknowledgment and acceptance. We talk about mental health because together we can break the stigma.
The Beyond Rules Recovery blog is written by people who are passionate about mental health and wants to spread the message of hope, resiliency, and recovery.