May is Mental Health Month—learn more about mental illnesses

This month is an opportunity for us to become more aware of mental health problems, both our own and others. Given the current economic stressors in our country, more of us are experiencing anxiety and depression and could benefit from help. Yet a large majority of people who are suffering do not seek help due to the stigma that still exists around mental illness.

This month is an opportunity for us to become more aware of mental health problems, both our own and others. Given the current economic stressors in our country, more of us are experiencing anxiety and depression and could benefit from help. Yet a large majority of people who are suffering do not seek help due to the stigma that still exists around mental illness.

We might distance ourselves from our neighbor who is acting in an unusual manner, resulting in greater social isolation for that person. An employer might not hire someone with a mental illness due to misconceptions about his or her ability to perform on the job. The media often links violence to mental illness, yet in reality it is much more likely that a person with mental illness will be a victim of violence.

Mental Health Month is an appropriate time for us to begin to consider how we might be contributing to the stigma of mental illness. For example, how often do we call someone “crazy” or say “you’re insane” or “psycho”? The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) does not denounce the use of these words unless they refer to someone who has a mental illness or to the mental illness itself. However, we can stop and think twice about using these words on any occasion.

We can also acknowledge and protest stereotyping of mental illness. Recently, NAMI and Mental Health America advocated to Burger King to remove an ad in which the mascot king was depicted as “insane” because he wanted to sell a sandwich for such a low price. Local incidents can be reported to NAMI on their Fight Stigma site at www.nami.org.

We can participate in the NAMI Washington State Walk on Saturday, May 15, at Magnuson Park in Seattle by supporting a walker or by walking ourselves. This is an annual NAMI fundraising event to support our local programs, which work “to improve the quality of life of those persons affected by acute and chronic mental illness through support, education and advocacy.”

And finally, we can remember that people with a mental illness are not their diagnosis.

Gayle Erickson

Clinical Supervisor

Mercer Island Youth and Family Services


In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing editor@mi-reporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.mi-reporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

[flipp]

More in Letters to the Editor

Stay healthy and safe, Mercer Island | Letter from the mayor

Dear Mercer Island Community, A couple of weeks ago we celebrated the… Continue reading

Letter to the Editor, Jan. 22, 2020

MIYFS Foundation Breakfast

Letters to the editor, Oct. 23, 2019

Letters on the upcoming election.

Letters to the Editor, Oct. 30, 2019

Political letters not in print.

Send your letters to cmorris@soundpublishing.com.
More letters supporting Mercer Island City Council candidates

Letter writers support Anderl, Rosenbaum, Thompson

Letters to the Editor, Oct. 16, 2019

Election letters; troubling advertisements

Letters to the Editor, Sept. 18, 2019

Safety issues; politics in general; candidate endorsements

Letters to the Editor, Sept. 11, 2019

Candidate endorsements; thank you