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Opinion: Mental health is no laughing matter; it’s time to end the stigma

Sarah Darer Littman
Sarah Darer Littman

Sarah Darer Littman is an award-winning columnist and novelist of books for teens. A former securities analyst, she’s now an adjunct in the MFA program at WCSU, and enjoys helping young people discover the power of finding their voice as an instructor at the Writopia Lab

In last week’s column about Task Force to Study the Provision of Behavioral Health Services for Young Adults report, I wrote openly about my own struggles with the mental health system. In other words, I admitted publicly that I, too, have had issues with mental health. This isn’t something new. It’s a conscious choice I made over a decade ago around the time of my hospitalization, when I saw the stigma those around me, including even some who loved me and were most close to me, had about mental health issues.

I knew then that for me to be healthier, for society to be healthier, this would have to change.

It’s not a choice I regret often — mostly because I’m powered by a sense of purpose. One of my favorite quips is that “God gave me a gift, the ability to express myself in writing, and then decided to give me plenty of ‘material’.”

But joking aside, I’ve seen how my choice to be open and honest about my mental health challenges — and the fact that I am now a successful author leading a healthy and productive live — has helped so many others. Even from the very beginning, before I had achieved the success I have now, I had people who had undergone similar struggles writing to me telling me I was brave, and thanking me for being open in a way that they felt unable to because they were afraid of the repercussions.

See the complete story at CT News Junkie.

Comments

One response to “Opinion: Mental health is no laughing matter; it’s time to end the stigma”

  1. Suzanne

    An organization specifically dedicated to the end of stigma against mental illness is called “Bring Change 2 Mind.” I recommend it for anyone who thinks mental illness is a sham, white wash, pharmaceutical industry conspiracy, a way for the NIH to get more funding for useless research, etc. I think the brain mapping project, like the mapping of DNA, will provide a lot of insight into mental illness. I see it as the brain being “differently wired”, as part of “regular” healthcare, just a bit higher on the human body spectrum. To think anything else is not only lacking in scientific perception but shows a specific desire to live in an earlier century. It might be difficult to accept, but mental illness is part of the human condition. It might be frightening to accept, but mental illness is shared by many people with a differently wired brain – that everyone is vulnerable to this given the stresses of daily life is why I believe stigma exists at all.

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