2019 World Mental Health Day

Colorful together signage painting

Talking One Language

Mental health stigma, suicide or substance abuse . . . these problems continue to prevail in all corners of the world despite advancements in medical and psychiatric research. In the United States, suicide has become the second-leading cause of death among college students.

More people are hearing about mental health but many are still not receiving treatment. A lot of people around the world are too afraid to speak out about their illness, out of fear of ridicule. Many people around the world also do not have access to mental health services; a psychiatrist may be as close as a 3 hour drive.

Depression and anxiety continue to plague all levels of society, whether rich or poor. There is no correlation between money and mental health; one may be a billionaire and still develop depression or a substance use disorder. Even among the 1%, talking about mental illness is often a challenge.

The root of the problem is ego: we are afraid to be more open about mental illness out of fear of injuring our ego. Rather than seeking the proper help and care for an illness, we attempt to keep the symptoms to ourselves, or worse, hidden from ourselves. Many people attempt to ignore their symptoms, believing that this cannot be happening to them.

Rather than creating a worldwide platform for sharing our struggles with mental health, we are beating around the bush by avoiding talking about something difficult or unpleasant. Rather than treating humanity, we are treating segments of humanity; the whole remains divided into pieces.

Pieces do not solve the larger problem. We must come together and open up regarding our struggles with mental health; there is no shame in being sick! Shout it from the rooftops if it has to be done. We have the chance to change the way society views mental health, so future generations can come into this world experiencing a comfortable place to seek help and treatment.

It’s time for us to talk one language: mental health.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

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El Paso Shooting

Mentally ill person wearing armor suit and carrying shotgun

Turning A Blind Eye To Mental Illness

A manifesto. Accumulation of hate. Thoughts of killing. Destruction. Elimination. All fueled by deep hatred stemming from malfunctioning brain circuits; neurons releasing too little or too much neurotransmitters in different regions of the brain. Meanwhile, the clues pile up on social media and nobody does anything about it.

This is the problem with gun violence in the United States: mental illness is still not receiving the full attention and focus that it needs to prevent such catastrophes from taking place. People witness disturbing social media posts or odd behavior by a certain individual and do nothing about it.

Whenever you see something, say something! Mental illness can no longer be ignored. For how much longer will America turn a blind eye to mental health? Guns do not kill people; people kill people! A deep hatred towards another race, gender, ethnicity or creed stems from mental illness. All emotions originate from the brain.

Anger, jealously, hatred or fear; they all originate from the brain. There is no hatred without something malfunctioning in the human mind. When you have a person take twenty innocent lives and injury twenty-six people in a shopping mall on a Saturday afternoon, you know that mental illness played a role. You would have to be naive and ignorant to believe otherwise.

Some would argue that America is overmedicated and that we need to rely less on prescription drugs. How can this argument stand when every other month there is a shooting spree in a different state? We can ban all the guns in the world but people with mental illness would still obtain them very easily via the black market.

Banning guns is like starting a modern day “war on drugs” by attempting to make everything illegal. We are finally admitting that the “war on drugs” has failure, as evidenced by the modern opioid and methamphetamine epidemics, soon to be followed by a stimulant epidemic.

Banning guns is not the solution; it never will be. The solution is ending the mental health stigma and coming forward to share our problems rather than spraying them on innocent lives. We need to be honest with ourselves and step out of the darkness where mental illness sometimes takes us.

It is time for America to come out of the closet regarding our mental health crisis. We can no longer treat this subject lightly or else innocent lives will continue to be robbed. Violence, murders, suicides and drug abuse all stem from an under-treated society. We are being prescribed medications but we are not fully forthcoming with all of our problems.

The psychiatric medications are acting as temporary bandages rather than long-term solutions. Some people do not even know the significance of the medication which they are taking. This is because we are superficially addressing the mental health crisis. We can no longer be ashamed of sharing our problems with each other.

And this applies to the rest of the world as well. By coming together and sharing our mental health concerns, we will make this world a better place and decrease violence and hatred exponentially!

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)