I recently crossed paths with a Huff Post piece entitled 5 Real Ways To Combat The Stigma Around Mental Illness.
Stigma, here, means territory, doesn’t it?….
Okay, let me back up a little space, and let’s look at these 5 counter stigmatism measures and strategies mentioned.
Numero uno. “Make sure “going to the doctor” includes going to a therapist, if needed.”
Just to clue you in here, by therapist the author means mental or behavioral health professional specialist. Let me modify the above statement by saying that if you don’t want to be treated as nutso when you go to see the doctor, perhaps it would be a good idea NOT to request such a therapist.
It’s a good thing we don’t have 5 organs of evacuation, isn’t it?
This brings us to number two. “Train community leaders on how to screen for the signs of depression.” One could broaden this statement to include all sorts of nutso. Is your neighbor nutso? He or she should be screened, shouldn’t he or she? The more screening there is the more possibilities for nutso there are, and so on.
With number 3 we’re at a loss from the beginning. “Emphasize mental health, not mental illness.” Mental health in this case is something all mentally ill people have. Go figure…
Hmm. I wonder if all mentally healthy people have a mental illness?
Alright. Number 4. After you’ve called in the head shrinker or the behavioral therapist, after some trained community leader has found you out with a sanity test, after you’ve started to emphasize the health of your illness… “Recognize that friends and families can be powerful allies.” When it comes to being nutso, friends and family are always a big “help”. To make a ‘how much wood could a woodchuck chuck’ out of the matter, friends and family can always help a nutso notso much. Or it is that they can always help a notso nutso much? Anyway, whatever it is they can do, they’re there for you, kiddo.
Number 5 is the most curious of the bunch. “Own it.” By this the author means acknowledging that we are all effected by mental illness (i.e. nutso-ness). If only mental wellness were so influential, huh? We might then have many more people around are who were notso nutso, but you’ve got to deal with what you’re given, and if that’s nutso, well, there you go. Anyway, if you buy nutso, it must be your nutso. Got, er, own it. There are a heck of a lot of gullible people out there in this big world of ours, or not so big as the case may be, and what some them are gulled into is absolutely nutso.
If only it were notso.
I had a pet mental illness once, but I let it go. I imagine somebody else has it now. On the other hand, if it died out there on the road somewhere, I wouldn’t be sorry. I can only take this moaning over road kill business so far.
This Huff Post piece says some 18.6 % of the US population are “mentally ill”. There are other sources that give a higher figure. The Kim Foundation, for instance, puts the figure of people with mental illness at 26.2 %, or more than 1/4 of the population. In other words. if nutso is common, notso nutso is pretty common, too.
While you are mulling the matter over under your thinking cap over there, buddy, maybe there are better things to be than nutso.