Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Shame, Shame, Shame

As a tribute to freedom I wanted to talk about a post I read on one of my favorite blogs about a new organization, The Siwe Project, which is dedicated to helping people of color who live with Mental Illness.

The mission is to: "Promote mental health awareness and education in the global black community".

If you are or have ever serviced/worked/been part of a black/brown community you may have witnessed the stigma Mental Health issues still holds. And the extent to which help is rejected.

Whether it's the neighborhood "crazy" who was once the community's prom king or star athlete, but now wanders around with what may be untreated/diagnosed bipolar disorder.

The mother who refuses school services and support for a child experiencing emotional/development/mental disabilities because their "Kid ain't crazy".

The uncle, father, brother, spouse who suffers from extreme emotional highs and lows and self medicates with marijuana or by simply withdrawing from family life and relationships.

If any of that is familiar you may have witnessed the immense shame living with a mental illness has on people of color. This shame phenomenon may be universal, but it is especially detrimental to black/brown culture, family life, and of course mental health.

So I guess this post is a PSA.

If you or someone you know or love is dealing with mental health difficulties (frequent episodes of depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, obsessive compulsive behavior, severe anxiety, unexplained bouts of anger, etc.) please check out The Siwe Project  or here to learn how to find resources and get help.

I know that members of the military and their dependents often face a similar shame when dealing with mental health treatments so here is a link for that too.

Just as with seeing the doctor for a broken finger, there should be No Shame in seeking treatment for our hearts and minds.

Claiming independence from shame is as good a way as any to celebrate our nation's freedom. Happy 4th of July!