Today, we take a break from the Mental Health Heroes to be part of a Mental Health Awareness event blog party.  (@APAHelpCenter & #mhblogday)


For my mental health blog party post, the topic encompasses the following 3 important questions:

1. How can you help people recognize the importance of good mental health?

2. How to overcome stigma?

3. Where to seek out professional mental health services when needed


How can you help people recognize the importance of good mental health?  I believe if we speak out about our personal experience and are willing to put a face and a name to mental health, people will look at it as real and not something “your friend’s mother gets” – to quote Joey Pants.

How to overcome stigma?  I hate the use of the word stigma, it is stigmatizing all on its own, but it is a familiar term for people when they’re talking about mental illness. However,  I like the way actor Joe Pantoliano describes mental illness: a  “brain dis-ease.”  I think he is on the right track. Changing something as simple as a term for “mental illness” is a huge project and I think, without a doubt, it will lead to overcoming the “stigma” of mental illness.

Where to seek out professional mental health services when needed? Sometimes, the answer to that question is one we might be able to answer on our own. Where to seek help will depend largely on what kind of services you can afford.

If you’re like me and live in a state with a real low budget for mental health services, then you take whatever service you can get.  If you have insurance, then no doubt, you can get better service.

Harder still is getting help “WHEN NEEDED.”  This kind of incorporates recognizing the importance of good mental health and overcoming stigma! If we don’t recognize mental illness or “brain dis-ease” as a problem, then we will never accept the help we really need. That is where the stigma of the illness can take hold; we deny the fact that we are sick enough to need outside help.

We need to be honest with ourselves and be able to understand that the problem is treatable and we don’t have to suffer needlessly. If we are living with a diagnosis, then we may want to have a trusted friend ready to take action if they recognize distress and denial in us.

Here is a thought: write a letter to yourself that tells you you’re not well and you should listen to this letter and get help! Write what you think will make you understand and believe that you’re not well and your symptoms are blinding you so much that you needed to write to yourself to convince yourself to get needed help.

Then make 3 copies of it. Seal it in an envelope, put your name and address and correct postage on the envelope. Now mail it to yourself.  When you get it, don’t open it. In your hand, you have 3 legal documents that only you can open. (It’s illegal to open someone’s mail.) Now give one of these legal, postage stamped, unopened envelopes to three trusted friends with the instructions to NEVER OPEN IT and only give it back to you if they believe you need professional help and are not seeing it, or you won’t listen to anyone about your moods or behavior.

They will hand you a legal document that is from you, telling you to get off your rump and get help ASAP! It should be the motivating kick in your butt to get the help you need. Try it out…it does work!