Mental Health Advocacy

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Not too long ago I wrote an article called Ending Mental Health Stigma-Time to Step Up to the Plate! The premise of the piece was essentially that due to powerful mental health advocacy, the historically entrenched stigma surrounding mental health has been significantly reduced.  As such, many individuals have opened up about their conditions and have actively sought support.  Also, the article illustrates how world governments and political leaders are woefully unprepared to meet such a rising demand.  In other words, the anti-stigma campaigns have been working and overwhelmed political leaders have been scrambling to keep up with the surging demand.  While the aforementioned is great news, recent changes to the landscape of various world governments is going to severely test the mettle of the movement.  In particular, the election of a new “Trump” era in the United States.  If there was ever a time for all mental health advocates to unite as one…it is now!
I am not meaning to sound dramatic or alarmist with the preceding statement, but let us look at the facts.  During a Presidential debate D. Trump proclaimed:
I feel that gun-free zones, and you know, when
you say that, that’s target practice for the sickos
and for the mentally ill.”
This comment clearly makes the connection with the mentally ill being dangerous and violent.  As I wrote last month, that is a mental health myth which is a pure falsehood.
 If that was not bad enough, let’s look at some of his infamous Twitter comments which use mental health as ammunition for his many taunts against others.
“Lying Ted blames Donald Trump for so many things I am
starting to think he is having a mental health crisis.” (Mar. 25, 2016)
or
“Failing host Glen Beck, a mental basketcase, loves SUPERPACS.  In other
words, he wants your politicians totally controlled by lobbyists.” (Oct. 29, 2015)
If using and perpetuating the stigma of mental health to make a point was not enough, President-Elect Trump recently appointed Steve Bannon as his chief strategist.  This is the same individual who in an email exchange with Breitbart editor, Matt Boyle claimed:
“I’ve got a cure for mental health issue(s).
Spank your children more!”  (The Hill)
This comment clearly reveals the notion that those suffering from mental health are somehow weak and spoiled because they needed more discipline as children.
As I mentioned, I do not mean to be alarmist…but I really think we have to be!  While it is true that the United States is just one country in the world…it is nevertheless a world leader and many others will follow it’s example.  I also believe in giving people a chance first.  However, in this case while President-Elect Trump has not begun his term yet, we can see how so much damage has already been done.  For ages people would not seek support for mental health conditions because of stereotypical negative labels and shaming.  They were pushed off to the sidelines of society or removed altogether.  This has started to change however.  A great deal of progress has been made in reducing stigma and increasing acceptance.  I fear the latest changes in the political landscape will act to halt and ultimately reverse this momentum.  That is why I believe the time is now to unite as a group and advocate like we have never before.  I choose to fight….back!
Brought to you by Zee at Revolving of Doors.

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