Since May is Mental Health Month, I thought that it would be the ideal time to help dispel some myths and remove some stigma for those suffering with a mental illness.
However, as president of the National Association on Mental Illness, Tri-City chapter, I know removing stigma is no easy task in our country, in part because our media are run in part by sensationalism. For instance, news stories that elicit fear or are bizarre by nature catch our attention.
Unfortunately, language counts and when the word "mental" is used, our imaginations take a leap. Before we know it, the nice lady who lives next door and medicates for a chemical imbalance is likened to a state hospital detainee who is criminally insane.
Is it any wonder then that folks who need medicating are reluctant to come forward? A chemical imbalance in the brain should be treated medically just as an imbalance of one's blood sugar levels. Both illnesses require medication and both can allow the patient to carry on and have fulfilling lives.
So please remember, a mental health problem is not uncommon. In fact, in any given year, 20 percent of Americans deal with a mental health problem. These problems should be dealt with medically like any other illness.
Anna Bopp, Richland