Let’s end the stigma

endthestigma

It’s mental health awareness month. It’s hard to believe that in 2014, this society still places a stigma on mental health issues and seeking help. National Institute of Mental Health estimates that over 26 percent of adults over the age of 18 years old have a “diagnosable” mental health condition. This means that almost all of us knows someone who is living with a mental health disorder or we have one. The numbers are just as high for children. Yet, many suffer in silence, endure the pain of isolation and don’t receive treatment that could help to lessen their suffering. Mental health professionals play a significant role in helping to decrease the stigma against mental health disorders. Not only do we have to serve as advocates, we must be visible. It is vital that we find opportunities to speak about mental health issues and the importance of seeking help. The internet provides an international audience for therapists to speak up and out about disorders of the mind. Perhaps if people see us as approachable, knowledgeable, and accessible, it will make it easier to seek assistance. Silence and isolation kill.
Last year, there were ten suicides of adolescents in the state of Delaware. It’s overwhelmingly sad to think these children felt they had nowhere to turn. My practice —www.thecenterforchilddevelopment.com, has worked tirelessly to help get children and families connected to the services they need. We are fierce advocates for the mental health needs of children and work every day to remove obstacles that serve as a barrier to mental health services. We’re teaching children that it is okay to get help and we make that help readily available to them and their families. CCD is working to reduce the shame and stigma. We’re happy to participate in Mental Health Awareness Month!