Psychiatry

Go Green!

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I spent this Sunday partaking in what practically 50% of Americans are fans of: watching pro football.  I looked in awe at the stylishly bright, slick, and sporty pink athletic gear that each team member wore in support of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  I wished that Mental Illness Awareness Week (October 5-11, 2014) received just as much media and support.

For me, Mental Illness Awareness Week means promoting empathy rather than sympathy.  With empathy comes understanding and lessening of stigma.  Even as a psychiatrist, there are times when I feel awkward asking friends about depression, so I can imagine how difficult it might be for anyone to openly discuss and start a conversation about mental illness.  But keep in mind that mental illness is far more prevalent than you may think:

– 1 in 4 U.S. adults suffer from mental illness

– 1 in 10 Americans take antidepressants

– Almost 50% of children ages 8-15 with a mental illness received NO treatment last year

Yet, despite how prevalent it is, suffering from mental illness is often lonely and isolating and nobody should have to feel that way.

So what can YOU do?

– Go Green! Wear lime green this week to serve as a reminder and trigger discussion among others about raising awareness and destigmatizing mental illness

– check out the Nami website to learn more facts about mental illness, treatment, and resources

– try to lend support rather than avoid.  If you sense that someone you know is struggling, please check in on them.  It sounds so simple, but you can make a difference and potentially save someone’s life

THOUGHT OF THE DAY:  Share one thing you did this week to show your support (post in comments below)!

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4 thoughts on “Go Green!

  1. Very informational post. Thank you so much for sharing this. I did not know any of the statistics you shared pertaining to mental illnesses. I checked out the link you supplied above to learn more.

  2. Telling distinction between sympathy and empathy, the former allowing for distancing yourself and the latter involving some emotional response. And there’s the sound thing, like elusive and illusive. BTW, have you read a little book called Freud and Man’s Soul by Bruno Bettelheim? If not, I think you might like it. I know the late Dr. Bettelheim is pretty much out of favor, but the concept of the book, Freud as an Enlightenment figure, is fascinating.

    • Yes Tom, you’ve caught on my tendency to use the “sound thing” in my writing! there’s gotta be an actual term for that, for which my head hurts too much to think and look up right now 🙂 As for Bettelheim – sounds quite familiar and I may have read an excerpt for my psychoanalytic psychotherapy course. I’m always interested in writings on Freud, so will have to check it out.

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