26.2% of the adult population in the U.S. suffers from some kind of mental illness. Note, that’s just adults – that doesn’t even included children and adolescents. Of that 26.2%, only 36% are received treatment. (This is all according to the National Institutes of Mental Health.)
Now, according to me (and lots of other people, really): this happens because mental illness has a stigma. With its prevalence, it shouldn’t. The stigma makes the suffering worse, which makes the stigma even worse because no one talks about how bad it feels because they’re embarrassed, and etc etc.
The stigma needs to stop. As someone with a mental illness (depression) I often feel like a hypocrite because I don’t talk about it openly even though I say people should, and I’m really private about it and often self-conscious. Remember when cancer was stigmatized because people weren’t sure how it was spread? Look at it now – we all talk about it, we all know about it. Depression and other mental illnesses need to be the same way, so we can start making real progress. I myself need to get better at this.
To that end, I’m opening a story on etsy (okay, I started it awhile and never did anything with it). It’s called The Stigma Store, and for every item that is sold, I am going to donate $1 to the National Alliance on Mental Health.
And – I’m going to blog about mental illness. And talk about it. And I encourage you to do the same.
Thank you for your support!