Written by Taylor Jones.
Every month at my local grocery store there is a promotion for the pharmacy where you can raise money for the month and whatever illness has association with that month. I was excited for May, being (among many things) Mental Health Awareness Month. I was hoping that my pharmacy would be on the front lines of fighting the stigma, and would raise money to help people with a mental illness. So you can imagine my shock and disappointment when I saw May was going to raise money for Pet Month, without any mention of mental illness.
This is how much stigma is still, in 2017, prominent, and still very much in the way of many people’s treatment.
I was hoping a pharmacy of all places would be fighting to help those struggling with mental illness. But the truth, it probably wouldn’t raise much money in my town. People would probably scruff and laugh at the store trying to raise money for mental illness, when they empty their pockets for the cute, fuzzy animals they could save. The cold, hard truth is that people are more willing to help an animal than they are their own species when it comes to the person being inflicted with mental health problems. This is how much stigma is still, in 2017, prominent, and still very much in the way of many people’s treatment.
We won’t get anywhere being silent and we won’t make waves without being empowered.
Mental health matters; but it’s impossible to believe when we’re seeing more people celebrate Pet Month than Mental Health Month. We need to see more people openly rejoicing in mental health month, we need more people raising money, and we need more people speaking out. This month needs to be placed in the spotlight as a way to get more awareness. So speak out, ask what you can do. Rock a Schizophrenic.NYC tee shirt to help start a conversation. Share posts on your Facebook page. Tweet #MentalHealthMatters. Because we won’t get anywhere being silent and we won’t make waves without being empowered.
We may have come a long way in the world of mental health, but there are miles left to go. Start speaking up, and make a difference.