The Stigma of Mental Illness

Most of us have known someone who has suffered from a mental illness or a permanent or a multiple brain disorder of some type. Fortunately we live in a world where the conditions that may cause these things are being talked about and investigated. Whether it’s an NFL football player that had too many hits to their head, a baby that suddenly starts having seizures, a friend or family member who starts to suffer with memory loss, or a young person who suddenly has a psychotic episode, mental or brain issues just aren’t as easy to talk about as other types of disorders of the physical body.

If you, or someone you know is hospitalized with a broken body because of an accident, or sick with diabetes or cancer, most everyone wants to help. If you or a person you love has been diagnosed with schizophrenia or has a drug dependency problem, well-meaning people are at a loss for words and they avoid the subject, or they may even avoid you.

Family members sometimes find it easy to deny that anything is wrong with their loved-one’s brain but have no problem sharing that they have heart disease. As if admitting a brain dysfunction makes them appear weak and flawed.

I believe society is moving towards acceptance and getting over their denial of the critically important topic of mental health and brain disorders. Thanks in part to the media exposure of well-known celebrities with sports injuries, depression, dementia, drug addiction, and tragically, those who commit suicide.

We all need to make efforts to show more compassion and to accept mental illness and multiple brain disorders as being prevalent, real, and treatable. Once we do, we will give those suffering, and their families, more support and hope for a bright future.

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