Menninger Clinic now has a post about stigma and mental health. As a survivor of sexual violence, I and many of you struggle with our own mental health issues. The following comments from Menninger’s about mental illness stigma are also appropriate for the stigma we experience as survivors of sexual abuse.
SayNoToStigma.com is a blog of The Menninger Clinic, one of the country’s leading psychiatric hospitals (if you need convincing, just ask U.S.News & World Report; they’ve named us a top hospital for 19 straight years). We’ll be talking–and listening–about an abundance of mental health topics and the stigma that so often surrounds people with mental illness. We invite you to share your thoughts and experiences with us on this journey toward overcoming stigma.
Decades ago, people didn’t talk about cancer, which might as well have been a four-letter word. But as people began to talk about it, good things started to happen: more research was funded, new diagnostic tests and treatments were developed, more people got screened (often earlier), more patients got the emotional support they needed and more lives were saved.
Shouldn’t we do the same with mental illness?
Because good things happen when shame is erased and people feel free to seek treatment. Because more research is needed. Because new assessments and treatments are vital. Because early help is a key to minimizing the disruptive nature of mental illness. Because everyone deserves to live a productive, fulfilling life. Because precious lives are at stake, those of our brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers, children and grandchildren, friends and neighbors. Let’s start talking.