Please consider for a moment that one out of four people will suffer from a mental illness at some point in their lifetime. Also, more than 50% of American families are affected by alcohol or drug addiction. These reports I’ve found are based on those who have come forward, while millions of others are slipping through the cracks. It’s also not to mention the variety of other addictions that are inflicting us and those we love including food addictions, sex addictions, gambling addictions and so forth.
Further research I’ve stumbled across from the National Institute on Drug Abuse shows that drug and alcohol addiction can cause mental illness and mental illness can lead to drug and alcohol abuse. Then there are those being put through the worry; stress and isolation of loving others who struggle. They, and I include myself in this demographic, are often also overcome with mental health problems such as depression or anxiety issues. The unfortunate consensus is that it is only someone who is struggling that needs help. In reality, we all do.
What this all leads up to is that each of us either:
- Has a mental health problem
- Has an addiction
- Cares about someone who does
There can be happy endings. There is an incredible amount of help, support and resources out there for every one of us, no matter what cross it is that we are bearing. Sadly, it’s only the smallest percentage of the population that is reaching out for that help. One of the biggest reasons why people who need help aren’t getting it is because of stigma.
We, who are all perfectly f’ed up in our own way, are the ones stigmatizing each other; no one else is doing it. This to me is the true insanity of the situation. We ignorantly fear what we don’t understand and perpetuate that ignorance. We discriminate against others for having problems that we, or one of our loved ones, have.
Let’s stop that now.
When we drop the stigma, stop discriminating and begin to understand that no one is immune – and when we acknowledge that mental health problems and addictions are becoming ever more pervasive – that’s when we will finally be able to start doing something about it. We can help each other heal, we can learn to understand each other’s challenges, and we might actually begin to prevent the ongoing travesties caused by untreated mental health problems and addiction.
If you would like to help or find help please contact me.