So, someone like me, a middle-aged, professional, white male, can talk about struggling and get encouragement, pointed to good resources that are affordable for me, and there’s hope that I’ll get better. Someone living near poverty will say the same thing, and we start looking at whether they should have their kids removed from the home or how we can keep them away from a “safe” society.
It gets worse if they are not white and/or have a more serious mental health issue.
That’s not right. Everyone deserves quality mental health care. We shouldn’t divide who gets the care and who doesn’t based on what kind of mental health issue they have or who they are. That’s no way to solve this issue.
That’s a whole lot of people in this survey who are not OK with those of us who have struggled with mental health being their friend, a family member, around their kids, in a job or renting a place to live.
That’s some severe stigma.
The hard work is developing the proper resources for people who need help after the immediate crisis. That costs money. Money that a significant number of people in the US will balk at paying because it goes to “other people.” These are the same people who balk at paying taxes for schools when they don’t have kids or at higher insurance premiums, let alone the taxes necessary for things like Medicaid, that pay for people who “made poor health decisions.” So, rather than stand up to that kind of thinking, many politicians at the state and local levels will go along with that. They won’t even attempt to provide funds for mental health services.
Some will even go so far as to say those services are just propping up “weak” people who need to get over those issues.
At the end of the day, while we can point to the number of people who talk about mental health and are supported for talking about it, we cannot say we’ve eliminated the stigma associated with it until we all put our money where our mouth is and provide the help that people need.
Until then, I’m afraid that many people will learn lessons the hard way, that it’s easy to write off funding resources for “other people” until you or someone you love winds up being one of them.