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home : opinions : our views July 22, 2017

5/10/2017 12:04:00 PM
Seeing people is important
J. Patrick Reilly

There is a commercial that runs on television for a psoriasis treatment that asks just one thing.
"See me."
The request is to see a sufferer as a person instead of someone with a condition that is visible.
The thing is the person with the condition can be seen as someone who is visibly suffering. When it comes to mental illness, that is a condition that cannot be seen.
Estimates show that one in five Americans will be affected by a mental health condition at some point in their lives, which translates into millions of people.
A mental condition impacts everyone especially family members and friends. There continues to be a negative view of mental health problems in our country and this can get in the way of seeking help or treatment. One of the most important things we can do is work to replace this stigma with hope.
Each of us can help change the way the world views mental health by helping create understanding and offering hope. We can begin by learning about mental health issues. Everyone knows a little bit about mental health issues but we often do not know all the facts. The more we learn about mental health issues, the more we can help educate others.
We can help by seeing the person and not the illness. Each person who is living with a mental health condition has their own story. They have each been on a difficult journey that says more about them than their diagnosis. We need to learn more than just their condition or what they are going through. We need to treat them with kindness and dignity. We need to offer empathy. We need to see that no two people are exactly alike, even if they have the same mental health condition.
We can also become involved with mental health issues in our community. Mental health care systems are in crisis. There is a lack of funding, a lack of qualified staff and a lack of programs and resources in many communities. As a result, treatment and recovery may seem out of reach for many people that need help.
We can help in many ways. We can push for better legislation and policies to improve lives for everyone. We can talk about it to increase awareness and show that this problem cannot be ignored. We can lend support to show this cause is important and desperately needs support.
It all begins with us.

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