May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Judging from some of the stuff that flies across my Facebook feed, there is a big need for such awareness. As an individual living with bipolar disorder, a psychotherapist, and a mental health educator, it astounds me how much intolerance and ignorance is out there. One such example is an Internet meme that’s been making the rounds the last few weeks: “I don’t know about where YOU live, but the weather here is somewhere between bipolar and downright psychotic this spring.”
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Mental Health Month
The Canadian Mental Health Association first introduced Mental Health Week in 1951, and it has since become a yearly tradition. This year, Canada celebrated its 65th annual Mental Health Week from May 2, 2016 to May 8, 2016. In the US, Mental Health Month takes place throughout the whole month of May.
Both Mental Health Week and Mental Health Month are opportunities to spread awareness about mental health, provide support, fight stigma and GET LOUD for mental health!
This essay won second place in our High School Essay Contest this year.
No one would ever say, “It is just cancer. Get over it.” So why does society stigmatize people who suffer from mental illness? How come when people have a mental illness, society perceives them as if they are monsters? Why can every other organ in the body get sick and receive sympathy except for the brain?
One in four people suffer from mental illness. I am the one in four.
This essay tied for third place in our High School Essay Contest this year.
I live in Jamaica, a country rich with diverse ethnicities, personalities, and beliefs. As unique as the people of my country are, we all have one commonality, and that is the stigmatization of persons with mental disorders.