The Need for Better Mental Health Care

I am thinking on the things that are floating around the internet right now. Everyone weighing in on the big debates when something like a school shooting happens. I will say, for my own personal self, I hold my kid a little tighter now. Never has something that happened so far away and to perfect strangers affected me in such a way. I suppose that’s what being a Mommy does to you. It changes the way you think.

So, I came across this article, posted by a friend on my Facebook feed. Its about not using medication to treat mental illness. I am not sure if the writer of this post is fully understanding what it actually means to have a mental illness. I understand that she has ‘clinical background’ and that’s all well and good, but this was an extremely biased article with the clear stance against medications.

Look, I understand that there are people who go to doctors who start with medication. Who prescribe medication that may not be necessary  Yes, I understand that medication is being used with a high frequency in our country – but it doesn’t mean that there aren’t people who benefit from these medications. I know this firsthand.

This quote from the article baffles me.

We know of absolutely no chemical imbalance to account for mental and emotional illness. We know that genes are disrupted so function is distorted by a host of causes, chief among which are heavy metals like mercury and industrial poisons like formaldehyde, fluoride and foreign DNA and proteins which call forth an auto immune reaction and cause neurological disruption.”

Yes, there are some genetics that can cause the onset of a mental illness. However, how can this writer say that there is no evidence of any chemical imbalance to account for mental illness. She has not sited any studies or psychological journals to give the opposition to this. She just started making statements without any scientific backing. That makes this her own personal opinion. Most of the research done on psychiatric illness and treatment is based in theory and opinions. Frankly, we don’t have enough studies on this subject and the stigma on mental illness is so ridiculous, no one wants to touch it.

Well, let me tell you my opinion.

My partner is BiPolar. I have Anxiety. No, we are not “Adam Lanza”. I would not even attempt to compare us to him. I wouldn’t want to. However, this brings me to another quote in this article.

More than half of the people who kill themselves are on psychiatric drugs.”

Really, so explain to me about my family member who attempted to kill herself five years ago and she was not medication. We got her help. We got her on medication and now she deals with things better. 

No to psychiatric drugs? We tried that for a year and she slowly started to spiral out of control. 

No to vaccines? Sorry that I vaccinated my kid. I will continue to – its our duty as a community to vaccinate against those outbreaks that are widespread. 

I worked in a mental health facility as well. I worked with a lot of “Adam Lanzas” as well. You know what I saw? Medication working at its best. Those people had killed their families, they had done unspeakable things and yet, with therapy and medication they were starting to be turned into normal people. They were functioning like normal people. They did some strange things, sure, as it was not something they could control. However, they were functioning. 

This isn’t about guns, though that’s another debate I wish not to tackle, this is about mental health care. We need to look at the way that society looks at mental illness. I am not an advocate of strictly medication to ‘numb’ people. I am an advocate of getting people the help they need – which may or may not include medication.

To tell people they shouldn’t be using medication, is irresponsible. Its not helping anything. I’m appalled that there are people out there that are telling others how to manage a disease or illness they likely don’t know anything about. You can study it all day and you can still not know for sure what’s going on in the mind of a schizophrenic, of a person with anxiety, with any sort of illness you can’t see on the outside.

So, before you start giving advice to people that borders on the biased and the judgmental  take a walk in their shoes. Oh. Can’t get inside someone’s head, right? Well, then maybe you should take a step back and let these people manage their minds without your opinions and stigma.

Just because society feels as though mental illness is a nasty topic to discuss, these are people we are talking about. These are human beings. Let’s give them the common decency of treating them like people and not like their illness.

I do not excuse what was done in Connecticut. Not at all. I don’t excuse the actions of a man with an illness. I don’t blame the illness, I blame the man. This is not about excusing the man and saying that having a mental illness allows you to shoot up an elementary school. 

This is about making it less of a stigma to get the help you need. Its about making mental health care more accessible to our fellow Americans. Its about giving people a chance to be good people before they do the most unspeakable things that this man did. 

Take Care ❤

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