Understanding the Challenge of Mental Illness

A diagnosis has been enough without being burdened by secrecy and shame. Jane Pauley, television journalist diagnosed with bipolar disorder

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Although we have made progress in our understanding, treatment, and acceptance of mental illness, we still have a long way to go. When any other organ is diseased or distressed, there is sympathy, understanding, and readily available treatment.

When the brain is diseased or distressed we frequently say, “Just get over it.” Or “You seem fine to me.” Sometimes we think less of a person because they think or act in a way that is unclear to us. We need to champion those with mental illness along with the professionals and organizations who serve them. 

Affirmation: I acknowledge and champion those with mental disabilities and disease.

Coaching questions: What can you do to help a friend with mental illness come out from under the mantel of secrecy and shame? If you’re deeply depressed, suspect you’re bipolar, or have other possible mental health challenges, what’s keeping you from seeking professional help? 

The National Alliance on Mental Illness HelpLine can be reached Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. – 10 p.m., ET. 1-800-950-NAMI (6264) or helpline@nami.org

Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

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