This is sad, but true.
I knew that those with mental illnesses faced a horrible stigma, but I was unaware mental health professionals faced that stigma as well.
It says something about our society when we have a massive shortage of qualified mental health professionals, and mental health resources to treat something that millions of people are dealing with right now, today, that it actively looks down on the people who are trying to fill those needs.
I do believe this kind of reaction stems from two things, though. One is somewhat understandable. Working in the mental health field is difficult. I don’t deny that. I doubt that I could do it personally, which makes me respect the people who can, and are willing to, even more. Not less. From that perspective, I could maybe understand the reactions that Laura got, it’s short-sighted, but well-meaning.
On the other hand, even that reaction sheds a little light on how we truly feel about working in the mental health field. We feel sorry for anyone who has to work with “those people”.
In response to that, let me quote something I wrote in 2015:
Mental health issues are not affecting “those people”, they are affecting a significant number of people you know and love. Most of whom are probably too ashamed to admit it, or seek the help they need, because the people they should turn to for help and support, are too busy talking about “those people”, instead of looking for the signs of depression right in front of them.
So, please keep that in mind, and read more of Laura’s story, and let’s hope there are more people like her in the world.