Why is mental illness a dirty little secret?!
Why is it that when we suffer from mental illness it is something that is kept in the closet and kept quiet? When someone has cancer or has had surgery a community knows about it. Not only do they know that someone is suffering from cancer but what type of cancer it is. But when someone is suffering from bipolar or depression nobody knows. It is kept quiet and if it is spoken about it is whispered like it is a secret. It is an unfortunate badge that 1 in 5 people suffer from but nobody knows. A Scarlett letter.
We need to level the playing field. Mental illness is a serious disease just like cancer and heart attacks. So why is it kept in the dark? Why are people embarrassed to admit that they suffer from a mental illness? We have to end the stigma.
When a community member is recovering from surgery or going through chemo, most people spring into action to set up meal trains, complete household chores, help take care of their kids and pets. But when your community member is having a terrible time with their bipolar or depression nobody knows. It is kept quiet. We have to change this. What do you do? What do you say? It is simple. "Hey Sally, I see that you're having a hard time with your depression right now. We have set up a meal train for you for the next two weeks and we will be coming by to tidy up your house for you." Simple.
But first, we must know that someone is struggling with a mental illness in order to help them. We have to ask the questions. We have to talk about it. We have to check in with our loved ones, neighbors, and friends.
We have to end the stigma, talk about mental illness like you talk about diabetes or cancer. Where are the meal trains for those that suffer from mental illness?
Let's all cheer...casseroles for all!