Don’t suffer in silence America.
America is sick and she doesn’t even know it. There are many people walking around with a mental illness and don’t even know it. In our society, especially in the Black communities, mental illness is something that isn’t discussed very often. Why is that? We often wonder why people do things such as commit a murder or even commit a suicide. I am not making any excuses for their actions, but have we ever thought about the fact that maybe they weren’t mentally well? When according to the National Alliance on Mental Health, “1 in 5 adults (43. 8 million people) in the U.S. experience mental illness in a given year.” That’s a lot of people.
Imagine those who are living day-to-day with a mental illness and not aware of what is happening to them. The one thing I think people don’t realize about mental illness is that it doesn’t have a certain look. The person who lives next door to you could suffer from a mental illness, or even the person who is in a business suit, tie and is very successful. Mental illness doesn’t discriminate. It can affect anyone at any given time.
Even our children are suffering from these illnesses as “1 in 5 youth aged 13–18 (21.4%) experiences a severe mental disorder at some point during their life. For children aged 8–15, the estimate is 13%.” Social media is so prevalent in our young people lives, and there is so much different kind of information that they are filtering into their minds daily that is affecting them, and they may not even know it. Social media has caused many young people and even adults to suffer from depression, and for some, it has led them to commit suicide. So why aren’t we discussing this topic? I think many people may be ashamed, embarrassed, or may feel as if this can’t happen to them or even a loved one. I also think people feel as if someone has to look or even act crazy to be diagnosed with a mental illness. Think again.
One interesting fact is that African Americans and Hispanic Americans each use mental health services at about one-half the rate of Caucasian Americans and Asian Americans at about one-third the rate.” In the Black communities, mental illness is something that isn’t discussed as much possibly because of our religious beliefs, maybe the lack of information, the cost needed to address the illness, or simply because we won’t accept that fact that it does occur in our culture. Whatever the reason may be, we as a race, we as a community, and we as a nation need to speak out about mental illness. We can’t ignore it anymore, and we can’t act blind to it. Too many people are suffering in silence and they need our help.
There are so many different types of mental illnesses that range from depression, OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder), Schizophrenia, Bipolar disorder, anxiety, and PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), just to name a few. So if you see or know someone who could be suffering, don’t just call him or her the crazy friend, auntie, or neighbor. Speak up and say something. Do something. There is so much going on in the world and it affects us all in a different way, but the one thing we shouldn’t do, is suffer in silence.
America, you’re not mentally well, but its okay. There is help out there waiting for you.
If you need help or know someone who does, please contact the Mental Health America of Greater Houston.
2211 Norfolk, Suite 810
Houston, TX 77098