Why Mental Health

Why Mental Health
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Because it hurts, it kills, it’s genetic and it’s here to stay. Most of us have noticed the increased attention towards mental health in our news, schools, churches and families. Why? Why is it so loud in our faces now?
Honestly, it’s always been here. There’s just more of us and we have access to the world through so many social mediums like never before. We have no choice but to have it in our faces. And I say, “good!”
Since the start of deinstitutionalization in 1955 along with the signing of the Lanterman-Petris-Short Act, it was expected and enforced that government no longer legislate the fate and care of the mentally ill. Instead, place the responsibility on the community to care for, educate and rehabilitate mental health patients. That sounds fine and dandy – but where is it?
Nearly 1 in 5 Americans suffer from mental health illness and about 60% of those do not receive treatment. Nationwide, about 24% of our homeless population suffers from a severe mental health disorder. So, again I ask, where’s the community?
Treating the mentally ill is not for the high school graduate. Becoming a professional to help evaluate, assess and treat someone with a diagnosis takes money, time and proper education. There are not enough of us to provide this type of care. Don’t get me wrong, anyone can come in and help by supporting them, loving them, showing them they matter – but treatment: that’s different. Treatment takes that little piece of paper that says, “I’m qualified” and since that piece of paper costs thousands of hours and dollars it is harder and less-likely that people will seek it.
So what can we do? Find ways to help and send those suffering from mental illness towards the professionals that are ready and able to treat. Join associations like National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), Mental Health America, or National Institute of Mental Health. If you see something – say something…it’s not only about danger, it’s about suffering.
If you or someone you know needs help and would like more support, please reach out to one of the associations mentioned in this article, contact Suicide Prevention Lifeline, send me a message, or in the case of emergencies call 9-1-1.
Let’s understand mental health better together.
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