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Where's The Mental Health Recognition?


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I admit right off the bat that this is a self-serving post but I will try to keep the rant relatively short-

Background: The reason behind this is that 10 years ago this month I admitted myself to the psych ward for suicidal thoughts which was one scary and hellish experience. I've had depression for 16yrs but I survived then and every day that I live well despite this illness is a type of survival too. I am (justifiably I believe) proud of myself for this and sometimes wish I could tell people about it...without them looking at me like I'm a weirdo.

Admittedly, any conversation about a potentially life-threatening illness can be awkward, but in my experience there is still a huge stigma about MI and it really bothers me.

Why is there so little public support or acknowledgement of those who have mental illness? Illnesses like Alcoholism, Diabetes and Epilepsy used to be stigmatized but are mainstream (imo). Why aren't we?

Honeslty, do we need better PR people? When you're sick you can hardly get out of bed and obviously don't want to talk about feeling depressed, but what about afterwards? When you're better?....

For example, there's a fundraising type "walk" for many other illnesses such as Walk for the Cure or AIDs Walk (which are entirely deserving of support!) but no big Depression Walk. There's not even a colored ribbon sticker for your car (like the yellow "Support our Troops" ones) or a cheap rubber bracelet to wear (i.e. Live Strong- though maybe that's not a good example now).

I would like to see not only recognition but education and better awareness of what people with MI are like and what we all go through. We are NOT just "crazy" people who shoot innocent kids in schools.....

Yet there's also the perception that "everybody" is taking antidepressants these days (in America at least), so if it's that common to have an MI why is there still the stigma?

These are just my thoughts and opinions- no offense meant

Thanks for reading

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I'm literally brand new here, but I'll chime-in anyway.

People are really invested in the idea that their thoughts and emotions are somehow separate from their body. However, we're in an age now where we know that they are functions of living brains, and that scares them. In my eyes, it is fear of the unknown, and in many instances fear of the truth. People who have mental illnesses are proof that thoughts and feelings can be altered by chemical changes and brain states.

Edited by promethean_dude
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People with Mental Ilnesss in this country have it worse than any other group discrimiated on in the past. This isn't be discrimated on by obvious superfical factors which make getting free and equal rights eventualy possible (though still difficult) its being discrimated on because people are honestly afraid of you, don't know how to talk about it, have mental health issues themselves and project their anxiety, see that you are vulnerable and its a struggle to respond so they freely can abuse you without recourse. This stigma is embraced so highly by or society its like tryiong to be gay in the middle ages, you'll end up hated by everyone at best, burned at the steak at worse.

So I think we are all collectively scrwed right now and only a bread change in social norms and morals will ever bring use aceptiance. Its sad I know, but this is a very vicious beast we are dealing with; human nature.

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What a fantastic post! I agree 100 percent... I discuss my depression and anxiety with only close friends and close family I can trust.

I was very disappointed when Catherine Zeta Jones who is bipolar recently said during interviews that she did not want to be the poster child for bipolar illness... what a great representative she would be to bring education and normalcy 2 mental illness!!! I actually was a bit aggravated when she said that.

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What a fantastic post! I agree 100 percent... I discuss my depression and anxiety with only close friends and close family I can trust.

I was very disappointed when Catherine Zeta Jones who is bipolar recently said during interviews that she did not want to be the poster child for bipolar illness... what a great representative she would be to bring education and normalcy 2 mental illness!!! I actually was a bit aggravated when she said that.

Thanks! It's great to have a place to vent about this with people who understand.

I remember when Catherine Zeta-Jones 'came out" about her mental illness; I was surprised and glad as well because she is a well respected actress and could be a great spokesperson for those with MI. It is dissapointing that she didn't speak out about it again. Still, it was brave of her to say anything at all. A small step toward public awareness I suppose.....

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My understanding is that she only came out about her hospitalization for bipolar because a tablold was going to come out with the news and she wanted to beat them to it.... not because she was doing a service for the public or those with MI..

Very disappointing to me.

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This isn't be discrimated on by obvious superfical factors which make getting free and equal rights eventualy possible (though still difficult) its being discrimated on because people are honestly afraid of you, don't know how to talk about it, have mental health issues themselves and project their anxiety, see that you are vulnerable and its a struggle to respond so they freely can abuse you without recourse. This stigma is embraced so highly by or society its like tryiong to be gay in the middle ages, you'll end up hated by everyone at best, burned at the steak at worse.

It's true that people are ignorant and don't know how to talk about it, like you said, they might be afraid. They believe the stereotype that all people with mental illness are crazy, dangerous wackjobs. Or the whole topic is ignored by society at large, which is a problem too..

I think we've had some real progress in society with treating and understanding MI, but it's there's still a long way to go. It's such a huge thing to overcome that small steps seem insignificant but eventually those small steps add up.... But I am definitely grateful I wasn't born 100 years ago with depression. I shudder to think what they might've done to me then.

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My understanding is that she only came out about her hospitalization for bipolar because a tablold was going to come out with the news and she wanted to beat them to it.... not because she was doing a service for the public or those with MI..

Very disappointing to me.

Well, darn it, that is really a shame. I agree, very dissapointing.

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i know..she cld do so much about awareness for mi and those of us who function in the everyday world.....i think i was let down because i thought she would do a.lot for us and assumed she would want to do it.

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Some good news on the topic, Bell, the telecom company on the 12 th feb 2013 is going to make a contribution to mental health awareness and research, for each long distance all made or text sent. Some good news out of Canada.. I would also like to discuss workplace mental health practices, where some companies, the better ones in my opinion are starting to take note of the effect of the workplace on mental health. This is ultimately to save them money but who cares if it gives a better place to work. Any other countries doing this or anybody have a guideline that we could share and improve?

i can understand that Catherine Zeta jones doesn't want to be an ambassador for mi, after all, are any of us strong enough to claim we could do it.

It would be nice if she would answer on this forum and discuss how she feels, but that's private and we all share as much as we feel comfortable with. Catherine?

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ExB....thks for sharing those positives.. that is great to hear and I hope even more will come to be. I don't blame CZJ for her choice. I wish she or someone like her ( but who in the world is like CZJ) would want to take it on.... someone with her visibility and credibility as a person as well as her celebrity could bring so much positive attention and understanding to the issue of mental illness which would take away a lot of the stigma and increase fundraising for research exponentially. look at all the celebrities who have come out to support AIDS... in the 19 eighties when AiDS came into being.... it had a horrible stigma..

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I think Stigma lasted until early 2000s..... perhaps it still exists .... but not to the degree it was in the eighty's.... that's about 25 years from the time of it inception to the stigma not being as bad.... it got better because celebrities came out and supported fundraising as well as celebrities who had AIDS came out and made their situation public. mental illness has been around so much longer than AIDS.... why aren't we further along regarding the stigma and cures or Treatments for mental illness? what celebrities have pushed this cause? the last i knew of were Patty Duke in the 70's or 80's for bipolar and Msriette Hartley and the eighty's I think... that's it... had it not been for them I would not understand bipolar or have been aware of it back in the eighty's.

If I were a celebrity and I had enough money and experience in my art... as well as enough fame to make me visible and important to the public....I really probably would come out and be an ambassador for the issue.... it's important enough to me and I would want to make a difference in the cause.... however, no 1 knows until they are and that position.

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How true, the similarities between AIDS and MI are so relevant. It might be interesting to compare deaths from both as well. In fact because depression costs so much more money in the so called developed world, the costs to the population may reveal surprising numbers. Perhaps some research and a letter to my local member of parliament might be appropriate. Again not to belittle any other disease or demographic, but your point could be the basis of a very strong awareness campaign.

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U r kind to approve of.my point....sometimes i don't think..people.listen or care what.i hv to say so thx for the validation...yr point about deaths is an interesting one and wld be good to research..i wish there were someone worth writing to here in the states..r u in Canada?

There was a commercial campaign last yr showing the siblings of celebritis who had mi ....maybe ill try to write Glenn Close whose sister has.BP if i remember correctly.

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I think a lot of the lack of support comes from people not taking it seriously based on a lack of understanding.

The phrases "I'm depressed" or "that's really depressing" are used by many people every day so when they hear someone say that they have depression they think it's just the same as that. The reaction tends to be "get over it already".

Few people realise that it fundamentally changes the way your brain works, it's not just being a bit P***** off for a few days. And it doesn't matter one jot if you don't have anything to be depressed about. That's not the way it works.

I gave up telling people as they kept asking every few weeks "are you feeling better now" or "you must be over it by now". They didn't mean to be unkind, they just didn't understand.

It's not like a cold or the measles,it's not just here one week & gone the next. It's a long-term process with up and downs and few people can even begin to comprehend that unfortunately.

Maybe if it came with spots it would easier as then people would be able to see that you're ill!

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Yes, Canada. In the US can't you just tweet Obama and everything gets resolved?

Lol, but that is actually a good idea. You can leave comments and also start petitions on the White House webpage and Facebook page. (I'm not on Twitter but I'm sure you can reach the President there too!). I'm going to submit a comment about mental health/healthcare.

Good to hear that Bell is using their telecom might for something positive.

Update: I sent a short message to President Obama (of course I know one of his interns reads them, not him) on the White House webpage. And I feel pretty great about it. We'll see if I get anything besides the standard automated response.

Edited by Aoibh
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Good for you. I wonder if you'll receive a response. Don't you need 25000 signatures on a petition to getting reviewed in the senate, i am not sure how politics works south of here.

Yes there is that option of starting a petition and if you get enough signatures they have to review it. That could definitely be a good step in the future. I would need to be sure of how to word it and then see if enough people would want to sign it.

What I did was a little different. I submitted an email comment to the President. You click on the tab for "Contact Us" and you can send an email. I am curious to see what happens too.

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