Mental Illness Awareness Week is behind us, celebrated the first week of October, but every day, we should be working to break the stigma around mental illness.
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, in the United States 1 in 5 adults experience a mental illness, with 1 in 25 adults experiencing a serious mental illness. Frequently, mental health conditions are seen as not happening in our families or communities, but the data encourages us to think otherwise.
Portrayals of mental illness include danger, violence, or unpredictability. However, studies have shown that this is not the case. This is why the work of Jason DeShaw (“Country musician brings program on mental illness, addiction and recovery,” TCH, Nov. 13) is so important. Speaking out about his own experiences with his condition, and his maladaptive coping skills, gives us a better understanding of what a real experience can be like.
By listening to the stories of individuals who experience mental health conditions, we can better understand how to challenge stigma and increase access to treatment. I commend Jason DeShaw for his work in de-stigmatizing mental illness and encourage all of us to approach the topic with more open hearts and minds.
Malin Hamblin, West Richland