*RIFFRAFF* (A WORD OR TWO ABOUT MENTAL HEALTHCARE)


More like, a thousand words about mental health. Ok fine, 458.

I think at some point in our lives we find the thing (or three) that we are TRULY passionate about.
Like,  all-consuming-reason-to-get-up-in-the-morning-talk-a-million-miles-a-minute-for-hours-until-they-tune-you-out passionate about.
I have several of these things, but a majority of it is called "Mental Health and Recovery".
I promise to not get preachy :)

I work right now as a CRSS (Certified Recovery Support Specialist) and BHT (Behavioral Health Technician). The first one means that I am qualified to guide people in recovery through the public health system (government programs) and aid in their health and wellness (meds/goals/diet/prioritizing/advocacy/etc) and the second one means that I have a lot of experience to do so. Lots of words huh?

Here's the thing: mental health and substance use disorders are the last bastard children of the health system.
Meaning: it is VERY prevalent, VERY real, VERY serious, and VERY misunderstood.
Mostly the misunderstood part.

Lots of people seem to think that

A.) Mental Health patients are the ones you see in the park, unshowered and talking to no one/people in "mental institutions" banging their head against the wall.

B.) It's an incurable disease.

C.) Using the word "crazy" over and over isn't offensive to anyone
 
I can debrief you for a second (remember the part where you tune me out?) on those three myths:)


A.) It's pretty possible that those people DO have serious mental disorders, but MH disorders are more common than society admits aloud. 25% of American adults (UK too!) have been diagnosed with a MH disorder. This can range from the most common: debilitating anxiety to schizophrenia etc.
Celebrities share their popular faces to illustrate this point: Tim Burton, Robin Williams, Russell Brand, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Carrie Fisher, Macy Gray, Axl Rose... and those are just a handful of the current ones. The thing is, that its even more prevelent than THAT. In other countries, there are higher percentages claiming MHD, and it's not that they have more "crazy" people... it's that they don't have the terrible stigma that we have in this country that makes people feel ashamed and broken and unable to seek help.

inhale*exhale*inhale*exhale

 B.) Through 7 longitudinal studies done over DECADES and decades with hundreds and hundreds of people diagnosed with the most "severe" (read: crippling) mental disorders show that the
complete recovery for these individuals is 48-67%

I think that's a lot.

C.)  I've had to eliminate the word "crazy" from my vocabulary at work. This is REALLY difficult in a world full of Jennifer Lopez's critiquing good American Idol performances. (She says "crazy" approx 87x a show)

So, anyways. That's pretty much why I'm dedicated to trying to help people improve their own lives. I would LOVE to talk to you about it some time (million miles a minute for hours) and I'm sure I'll mention it again sometime... I'm especially interested in mood and food correlations. More on that later.

What are you passionate about? I would love to listen for hours...


2 comments

  1. Great post! There are certainly a lot of unfair stigmas attached to mental health disorders. I myself happen to have a severe anxiety/panic disorder (a touch of ocd, a sprinkle of agoraphobia), and I can really relate to everything you've written here.

    I think that's so wonderful that you're passionate about mental health and recovery. It's comforting to know that there are people out there who understand and don't think you're crazy, lol.

    I'm working on improving my own life, and recovering slowly from my agoraphobia. If you happen to have any tips about foods, or suggestions for people with anxiety, I'd love to hear them. :)

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  2. Hey Jes... I just stumbled across your blog and I'm glad I did. You remind me of me when I was your age (I just turned 48 so I'm stretching my memory a bit). I too work in mental health with folks who are chronically homeless, suffer with a mental health issue, addictions issues, multiple disabilities and medical issues, and vets with all of the above. My mantra has always been, "there but for the grace of God". There is no us and them, just we. Keep on being you and sharing. I'll keep reading.

    Chris

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