By in Health & Fitness

World Mental Health Day

Hurray for the powers-that-be that named one entire day as World Mental Health Day! If you've sensed some sarcasm in my statement, you are entirely right.

Naming a singe day to focus on all the facets of mental health is akin to putting a single bandage on a mortal wound -- it's a nice gesture, but it doesn't begin to stave the bleeding. We do, after all, have days set aside to honor the doughnut, coffee or even primal screams. The naming of one single day for an issue as diverse and complex as mental health is simply not enough.

For a time, after the suicide of Robin Williams due to depression, there was a focus in the media and in the minds of many about depression and its treatment and about mental health in general.

Much of the media, and the reading/listening/watching public are fickle creatures. Our attention spans last about as long as an episode of "Family Guy." We don't intend to forget these issues, but there is so much information that requires our attention.

An entire year devoted to mental health issues would not be enough, but it would be a significant start.

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Image Credit » TraumaAndDissociation CC-BY-2.0 via Flickr

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bestwriter wrote on October 10, 2014, 9:24 PM

I am averse to dedicating a single day to anything for that matter - mothers' day, fathers' day, seniors' day - the list is endless. I never take part in those celebrations.

MarshaMusselman wrote on October 10, 2014, 10:17 PM

you are quite correct about this, and most people haven't a clue about the issues facing those dealing with depression or other mental health issues. Many think it's possible for people to regulate their thinking better to remain free from these issues and while that may a bit of a part in the situation it is rarely that cut and dried.

I have a cousin that committed suicide by driving her car into a lake in the area several years ago. Although she asked for help, she didn't have the means to pay for that help herself and i think her family members didn't realize how torn she really was. Her mother was oblivious, mostly because she was hard of hearing and spent her days walking around town for exercise. Her daughter lived elsewhere for a time, but I think was living back home during the months preceding this. Even I was around her some and although I've been exposed to several in my family with mental health issues, I didn't recognize how much she was confronted with her illogical thinking, daily.

Feisty56 wrote on October 10, 2014, 10:25 PM

As someone who has multiple mental health issues, have a bit of an "inside view." I know how my own incorrect and disorganized thoughts can put me in a tailspin. I can't imagine what people such as your cousin must have experienced in the time prior to the suicide.

Part of the Affordable Care Act, at least in theory, required improved coverage of mental health care. Unfortunately, there weren't enough mental health facilities and programs to match the need previous to this mandate and the situation has not improved.

MarshaMusselman wrote on October 10, 2014, 10:57 PM

I have been diagnosed as being bi-polar although it's in remission in a sense because I'm on the correct medicine to manage it. My daughter is a germa-phobe and I was hoping that she'd see a psychiatrist or psychologist before she is no longer covered on my insurance plan, but that happens within a month and a half, and she hasn't made any appointments yet and probably won't.

Mental illness runs in my mother's side of the family although my cousin is the only one that's taken her own life. We have the facilities in our area, but I don't know that our coverage is included for that much longer.

BarbRad wrote on October 11, 2014, 1:59 AM

Mental health certainly is a complex issue and the public needs to become more aware of how to help their family members who are afflicted. Too many of them are being lost through suicide, including my own daughter. It's sad that often the drugs used to treat depression make patients suicidal

MegL wrote on October 11, 2014, 5:26 AM

I am very sorry to hear that.

Feisty56 wrote on October 11, 2014, 9:29 AM

I'm sorry to hear your daughter isn't likely to take advantage of yet being covered on your health insurance. I hope that when she is ready to address her issues there is a community mental health resource available that bases its services on income.

I've known several people who are bi-polar. Getting diagnosed and on the right medication seems to have made a world of difference in their lives. I'm glad to know your diagnosis is in remission -- as I'm sure you are too. : )

Feisty56 wrote on October 11, 2014, 9:34 AM

I agree. There are so many misconceptions about mental health and its issues among the general public and sometimes even among those with mental health issues. Not only is more accurate information important, but our communities need to better appreciate the need for quality services and ensure there are adequate means for treatment.

I am sorry that you lost your daughter to suicide. Knowing you, I am sure you did everything you could do as a mother to provide comfort, love and assistance.

Ellis wrote on October 11, 2014, 4:14 PM

World Mental Health Day....and I missed it! Wait all this time for a bit of recognition and then I missed it!

Kasman wrote on October 11, 2014, 6:25 PM

There is a lot of ignorance about and stigma attached to mental health. It's about time some attempt at recognition was tried. Small as this is it is a start.

Feisty56 wrote on October 11, 2014, 7:15 PM

Ellis, doggone it! It will come around again next year. Maybe you should mark it on your calendar? : )

Feisty56 wrote on October 11, 2014, 7:18 PM

You're right -- it has to begin somewhere, doesn't it? For instance, I know I am merely one person, but when the opportunity presents itself -- usually after someone has gotten to know me sufficiently, I will share my experiences as a person with mental health issues. I do it this way to help others see that we folks with mental health issues are just the same as everyone else. It's my little bit for awareness.

BarbRad wrote on October 11, 2014, 7:39 PM

We didn't get Sarah until she was nine, and she came with a lot of emotional baggage that even with counseling she was never able to deal with.

Ruby3881 wrote on October 11, 2014, 9:55 PM

I hear you, Deb! Like many others, I have issues with these days (weeks/months, whatever) devoted to a single cause. Too frequently they just pay lip service to something that deserves much more serious attention. Like you, I think we might begin to chip away at the tip of the iceberg if we had a whole year devoted to a serious issue like Mental Health. Maybe then we'd see some actual work getting done to address the many, many problems we face as a society....

MarshaMusselman wrote on October 16, 2014, 9:36 PM

I'm a bit familiar with that side of the coin also, as a co-worker's husband was on meds for depression and hung himself last year. She found him when she returned home from work. I'm sure she still deals with all the ramifications of that in her life even though she is now back to work.

MarshaMusselman wrote on October 16, 2014, 9:39 PM

I, too, am sorry to hear about your daughter. How long ago was that? Any death is hard to manage, but when it's a child and one that was getting care it especially difficult.

Feisty56 wrote on October 16, 2014, 9:54 PM

You know, I don't have any negative feelings about breast cancer and am happy that the cause gets lots of attention, but not to the exclusion of everything else. Mental health issues, although not always deadly, affect a large percentage of the population. It would seem that these concerns could get a higher priority.

paigea wrote on October 20, 2014, 9:37 PM

Great post and great discussion. We have a long way to go here in Canada to meet the needs of people with mental health issues.