Just a few short years ago, it would have been hard to imagine that famous figures ranging from musicians to athletes would be openly sharing how they’ve wrestled with mental illness. We’ve made great progress as a society in increasing awareness of mental health conditions and tearing down the stigma that often surrounds them.
Yet, this stigma still overshadows the suffering of the one in five Americans who live with mental illnesses. Continuing to dispel misconceptions and negative attitudes requires keeping the conversation going, and I’m grateful for the many celebrities and everyday folks alike who are leading the charge. Continue reading
Last year on World Mental Health Day, when Michelle Staubach Grimes, daughter of Dallas Cowboys legend Roger Staubach and author of two popular children’s books, saw several people speaking out online about the difficulty of dealing with mental illness, she decided to do the same. It was an easy decision, she says, because she had little to lose, and she wanted to help normalize mental illness for the sake of those who are often stigmatized for it. While Michelle has struggled with mental health challenges since childhood—particularly acute anxiety and depression—until then she’d kept her struggles private. Continue reading
Our society has come a long way in the fight against stigma in recent years! An American Psychological Association poll revealed that 87% of American adults agreed that having a mental health disorder is nothing to be ashamed of. This is something to celebrate as acceptance of mental illness plays a big role in helping those who live with these conditions obtain the support they need to pursue mental health stability.
But, there’s still much progress to be made. A 2019 CBS News Poll found that while nearly eight in 10 people believe that mental illnesses are real medical conditions and over two thirds say that anyone can struggle with these conditions, negative attitudes about mental illness are far from being extinguished. An overwhelming majority of respondents—nearly nine in 10 people—think there is at least some stigma and discrimination associated with mental illness in society today. Continue reading
Most of the time, I’m a “looking forward” type of person. So it takes a bit of work for me to stop and look back. But every year we develop our annual report and that gives me a great reason to pause and remember.
We just released the 2018 Annual Report. Our theme is “Stigma-Free Zone” and we’ve included a couple of stories from our members who share how stigma has impacted them. We also tell about one of our volunteers, a retired police detective, who is helping our members rebuild the dignity that stigma has stolen. Continue reading
For those who live with serious mental health conditions, stigma is constant companion. It follows them like a shadow they can’t escape, defining them by their illnesses in the minds of others and coloring the way they are seen in their communities with misconceptions. It causes them to be avoided or ignored at best, and often leads to discrimination and mistreatment. Continue reading
The Well Community is made up of over 200 adults who come from diverse backgrounds, ethnicities and experiences. They are drawn together at The Well because of one common cord. Each shoulders the burden of chronic and severe mental illness. When one member shares their story of ineffective treatments, loss of jobs, families, dignity, the others nod in shared understanding. When another tells of the heartache of “being different,” of being misunderstood or being mistreated, the others echo the pain.
In our new video, Echoes from The Well, one of our members gives us a glimpse into her world and a brief look at how The Well Community has brought life back into her life.
Oscar Brown is in the kitchen of Cliff Temple Baptist Church in Oak Cliff, passing out paper plates filled with salad and pizza. He’s there to serve at Thursday Night Life, a weekly gathering when members of The Well Community are invited to worship and enjoy a hot meal together. Volunteers like Brown prepare the meal, then serve it to the members after a time of music and Bible teaching. Continue reading
Mental illnesses impact people of all ethnicities and backgrounds. While treatment can make these conditions more manageable, many minority populations face challenges that make it more difficult for them to get the care they need. When left untreated, mental health issues can become more severe and can make life with them increasingly difficult to navigate. Continue reading
Stigma makes living with a mental health difficulty even more challenging. It reinforces negative attitudes about mental illnesses and encourages prejudice against those who struggle with them. The National Alliance for Mental Illness puts it this way: “Stigma reflects prejudice, dehumanizes people with mental illness, trivializes their legitimate concerns, and is a significant barrier to effective delivery of mental health services.”[i]
But, what causes this stigma to thrive and spread? Several factors perpetuate stigma, both in casual conversation and in the media. Continue reading
May is Mental Health Awareness Month and it’s the perfect time to learn more about the mental health conditions that affect 43.8 million Americans every year—including people you know. Learning about mental illnesses is the first step to standing up against stigma and supporting those who struggle.
1. Mental illness is common.
Mental illnesses are more common than cancer, diabetes or heart disease. One in five Americans experiences an episode of mental illness each year. Continue reading