Recently, a close friend and active member of the community said, “I have depression and I’ve been treated for it most of my life, but don’t tell anyone!”
Like my friend, shame, fear and silence feed our ongoing mental health crisis in America. We cannot fix what we are afraid to talk about.
Usually we fight alone and mistakenly think it only happens to me, but what if my friends or boss find out? We need to put an end to this cultural disgrace by initiating appropriate training in our schools to teach mental health literacy and open funding for treatment.
Why do you say that?
About 50-60 million adults and children living with MH in the United States, almost half remain untreated. This is one in five Americans who walks with MH disorder. Our system is broken, and people seeking treatment must navigate a fragmented and expensive system full of obstacles. As a result, many people cannot access mental health care when they need it most – this is amplified for resourceless Americans.
I have lived with an untreated MH disorder for half my life, regretting how my behavior and self-medication have harmed the people closest to me – this should not happen to you.
So what can we do about it?
If you are struggling with depression or anxiety, seek help; for starters you can tell your doctor or talk to a trusted friend about how you are feeling.
Watch out for our children; their capricious behavior may not be just a phase. Postpone employment and take the time to listen intently to your child’s stories? Hug them, even teenagers (let them cry) and often say you love them.
Call Lifeline on 800-273-8255 for the crisis (switch to 988 in July). Call Lifeline if you need advice about yourself or someone who may be suicidal.
Finally, there is no red or blue division; mental health affects us all. Contact your political representatives and demand fair funding for the treatment of MS if heart disease and cancer occur.