A Piece of My Mind

I’m not a doctor, but there’s a topic I feel strongly about around mental health. I also realize how financially fortunate I’ve been to have access to professional care over a sustained period.

Medication can be a great tool, but it isn’t the full answer. Without behavioral therapy, it often just serves as a band-aid.

As a society, we need to find solutions that give us answers and opportunities to work through our problems instead of perpetuating them so they constantly need to be treated. Real progress requires action and change, on both a personal and social level.

Research from the NIH shows that in America, mental health conditions like anxiety, panic attacks, depression, and bipolar disorder impact "tens of millions of people each year." Despite this massive figure, “estimates suggest that only half of people with mental illnesses receive treatment.”

Modern medicine has yet to find a permanent cure, and most available options are only part of an effective treatment plan. Advocacy, empathy, and equal access to care are just as important.

Mental illness can feel isolating because it’s such a personal struggle, and stigma shames many people who experience it into silence. It’s easy to buy into negative stereotypes that cast doubt on these conditions or suggest that behavioral symptoms are just negative personality traits like laziness or a bad attitude. Eventually, it’s easy to even start believing these things about yourself.

What if we questioned this narrative at the social level, and empowered people instead of judging them?

I strongly believe that our society needs to dig up root problems, peel back the layers of the onion, and understand what’s causing us to feel a certain way — and why.

We can’t continue to push our problems in a closet or label ourselves, but our symptoms also shouldn’t serve as a crutch. We not only need to work through them, but we also deserve to.

I believe in building extreme self-awareness through behavioral therapy, writing, and putting systems and tools in place. Actively taking all these measures can help us recognize when we might be a bit “off the tracks.”

Medication helps, but we deserve more comprehensive solutions — and a social landscape that enables us to start an open dialogue and advocate for better treatment plans.

With mental health, there’s no “one size fits all” answer.

But there’s a good place we can start.

If we remove the stigma that prevents self-advocacy and reaching out for help, maybe more people will feel like worthy individuals who deserve to heal, grow, and thrive, rather than the only one in the room who is less than or different.  

Let’s build bridges toward progress out of empathy and shared experiences, instead of walls between “normal” and “not.”

Let’s start this conversation today: right here, right now, below. What do you think?

#MentalHealthAwareness #BehavioralHealth #EmotionalJourneys #MissionsThatMatter #Anxiety #Depression #PanicAttacks

See the original post on my LinkedIn.