October 10, 2010

World Mental Health Day

Originally uploaded by Gordon D
As many of you know, my professional background is in chemical dependency prevention and treatment - yes, it's a long way for a comics/pop culture blogger to go, but there are other, better resources out there.

I'm blogging on behalf of World Mental Health Day - a global effort to raise awareness about mental health and substance abuse issues. In many countries, the funding is simply not there.

In the US, mental illness and substance abuse issues are....well, in my opinion, we have mixed feelings. We'll give the nice, pat easy claim that people should have treatment, but it's done with all the warmth and sophistication of Celebrity Rehab. Mental illness still drives many a melodrama...but in dealing with it on a day to day basis, it can be incredibly disheartening.

(Especially addiction - what very few people understand is that there is an actual change in brain chemistry around addiction. It's not like having a sweet tooth, for example - I've lost around 56 pounds since April mostly due to eating better and cutting down on sugar. If addiction were as easy as "giving it up", quite frankly, we wouldn't need treatment centers)

So I'm posting (or more accurately, reposting) a few links to videos and books which I recommend for helping learn more and getting motivated. But before I do so, a few things to consider:

If you were dealing with someone in an abusive relationship, you would not blame them and say that they brought it on themselves; you would support and help them set up a safety plan, encourage them to seek resources, and move forward.

If you were dealing with someone who had a physical illness, you would not blame them or point the finger - you would encourage them to go to the doctor.

So why, then, if someone has a mental illness - an actual physiological change in brain chemistry - why would we judge them any more harshly?

Or for those who are recovering from an addiction - why would we point our finger as if there is something "wrong" with them?

First, I want to publicly commend Mr. Joey Pants and NKM2 on his efforts and documentary. It is well worth seeing....and owning.

In terms of addiction, I strongly recommend both My Name is Bill W and The Night of the Gun, both blogged about approximately two years ago.

So take a stand. Learn more. And more importantly - speak out.

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