This is a wonderful article from WebMD. I was unaware of this organization and am certainly glad I read the article. Please click over to read the entire article on the website.
I have always maintained that mental health care is the step-child of healthcare. Because of stigma, because of shame, because of the “different”ness of the mentally ill–we tend to ignore or simply disavow the problem exists.
As a psychiatric nurse for over 20 years, I know the pain and suffering that my patients experience daily simply because no one tries to understand what they are going through. I see people trivialize or ridicule the mentally ill. I have never understood this phenomenon. People get sick, period. They do not ask to be sick. They did not expect to get sick. People get sick in their bodies but also in their minds. In today’s supercharged environment that moves at the speed of sound, we all can fall victim to mental fatigue which can lead to mental illness.
I hope you join the movement to end the stigma associated with mental health in this country and around the world. We all know someone who is suffering. We all can do something to alleviate that suffering.
By Julie Edgar
WebMD Health News
Depression should be talked about with the same candor as say, diabetes. But we have quite a ways to go in recognizing what it looks like – and stripping away the shame attached to mental health conditions, says Rory Brosius.
Brosius is deputy director of Joining Forces, an initiative launched in 2011 by first lady Michelle Obama and Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden, to help military personnel transition to civilian life. Brosius’ mission is to promote wellness in that population and beyond — service members, veterans and civilians.
She’s broadening that conversation through Campaign to Change Direction, an initiative begun last spring that hopes to change the culture of mental health in the U.S. The campaign helps raise awareness of five key signs of emotional suffering.
“We’ve treated mental health somehow different than our physical health, but it’s part of our holistic wellness,” says Brosius, a social worker by training and the wife of Matthew Brosius, a Marine who is re-entering civilian life.
WebMD talked to Brosius, 33, about the campaign and the work she’s doing to promote psychological wellness, both among service personnel and their families and the general public.
Q. What are the 5 signs that someone may be suffering from a mental health issue?
A. The key part is educating people on these five signs: personality change, withdrawal, agitation, poor self-care, and hopelessness. They’re signs somebody may be suffering. If you see them, you can reach out and help them. Because there is support that is available.
Q: What are some misperceptions people have about mental illness?
A: There are quite a few, like, people with mental illness are violent or somehow unpredictable, when the reality is that people with mental illness are 10 times likelier to be victims of a violent crime. We have stereotypical ideas of what it means to live with a mental health issue. Another one is that people assume they don’t know anyone with mental illness, but 1 in 5 American adults has dealt with a mental health issue in their life. You look around a room, someone’s dealing with it, someone’s in recovery. You may not notice it.
Q: If the signs of mental illness are subtle, how do you make ordinary people aware of them?
A: It’s not so easy to detect because it’s something we don’t talk about. [But] there are things you notice that indicate that somebody’s in pain. Forty years ago people didn’t know how to recognize a heart attack; through education we learned how to read the signs. This is a sticky and hard issue for people to talk about …it will take time, but we’ve seen the same thing with heart disease and stroke and breast cancer — it’s a matter of education.
Q: What is the best way to support someone with mental health issues?
A: There are great ways to support somebody suffering, just by being empathetic, being a good friend, listening, you can learn a lot about mental health. There are great resources – mentalhealth.gov, National Alliance for Mental Health – their whole mission is to teach people what to look for. In the age of the internet and Google, we have the ability to access that information at our fingertips. But really, just being there. Maybe the person would like you to go to an appointment with them or spend time with you….read the rest of the article here.