Even though mental illness is pervasive, as a society, we still continue to stigmatize those who suffer like we used to stigmatize those suffering from cancer or HIV. Research shows that negative stereotypes about mental illness and those who suffer often prevents people from reaching out for help.
Those who suffer are our family members, our colleagues and friends and they need our support and encouragement to seek treatment that can help them recover. It’s time to transform the culture of mental health in America.
Today I shared my personal story and highlighted some of the events in my life, like the early death of my father at the age of 36 when I was nine years old, that contributed to my meltdown as a teenager and were catalysts that precipitated my diagnosis of clinical depression.
My message is one of hope, that mental illness can affect anyone and that we need to ensure great treatment for everyone. Professional treatment and support can make the difference for those who suffer, putting them on the path to recovery and full, productive lives.
In my memoir, Water the Water Meets the Sand, I told my story, to encourage others and to demonstrate that all of us have stories to tell that are worthwhile to others. When we tell our stories, we find we have more in common than we think.
(c) Tyra Manning 2017