A remote Manitoba First Nation declared a state of emergency Wednesday after six suicides in the last two months and 140 attempts in the last two weeks alone.
I cannot believe the state of mental health in this world as it is today. We have to remove the stigma from this immediately. We have to resensitize people so that when someone does cry out for help, they get help instead of ridicule.
Three times this week I have found people crying out for help on Google+ or Tumblr. One time we had no negative comments, except that my wife told one girl that she was still thinking about them, and they called her “creepy”. The other two times, people were belittled. I was even belittled on one of them for posting a link to our Facebook page on Google+ in one of these conversations. Apparently the battle between Google+ and Facebook rages on, even though no one really cares except for the people who polarize themselves to one side or another? Sorry for getting off-topic.
Suicide is a serious problem in the world today. The article quotes one person basically as saying “This could not happen anywhere else but here.”, but I can tell you that it absolutely can happen, and is happening everywhere today. There is such a stigma placed on mental health, mental illness, depression, bipolar disorder, and suicide that the difference between “mental health” and “mental illness” is non-existent.
When someone mentions “physical health” the thoughts are positive. They are all about fitness, exercise, diet, and all around being healthy. If you say “physical illness” you get the exact opposite response. I am in the middle of a “game” on Facebook where I asked people to comment on the first thing in their mind when I say “mental health” and so far none of the responses have been positive. They are all responses that should only apply to “mental illness”. I started this game so late last night hardly anyone has responded at all…but they will come, I just reshared it. If you are not playing yet, please go and play. Just post the first word or phrase that pops into your head when you think of the words “Mental Health”. Do not let this post influence you. Be honest. I have done this once before as part of a survey project we had in a Psychology class in college, and almost every response I got was negative.
Nothing has changed, everything has only gotten worse. Advocacy groups and professionals have got to start working together on this issue and stop pretending there is some playing field and we are all in competition. This article is the very reason (and after the fact) that I created the Working Together Network. We need people from our communities to step out of the shadows and join so we can all put our heads together and develop new preventative strategies for helping people with mental illness, and in turn, promote mental health. We need to declare absolute war on the stigma of anything related to mental illness and suicide. We have to get our responses to someone in crisis right, and cannot take their cries for help as a cry for attention.
We have to work together, and rally in support of one another in order to make change.
Just to update this post, this is a thread I got on my Google+ feed right after I posted this story.