by: Eric M. Kussin

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13 June 2018

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The Stigma Surrounding The Terms Mental Illness & Mentally Ill

Had the pleasure today to present to six different health classes at Practitioner Johane Ligonde’s Dodd Middle School, in Freeport, today. Discussed my own battles, the topic of stigma, and the NEED to open up and ask for help for our MH the way we freely do for our physical health. Excited we now have many new #SameHere🤙 Deputies in a generation that needs to take the torch.

 

One exercise we did, that I wanted to share, was to ask them to write down what thoughts and words came to mind when they heard the terms “mental illness” & “mentally ill.” Please keep in mind I suffered w (and often still do battle) PTSD, Anxiety, & Depression from trauma I witnessed at a younger age. These would all go in the traditional bucket referred to as “mental illnesses.” So, I am by no means attempting to put down myself or sufferers by sharing this info…but instead wanted to share how stigmatizing & harmful these terms still are.

 

These are 7th and 8th graders. They weren’t even close to born when movies like “One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest” were released/popular.

 

The results are on the second slide. I asked them to be honest and write what they felt in their hearts and minds, without filter.

 

We wonder why people are still afraid to ask for help. We wonder why we are at record highs in negative MH trends – yet we continue to promote these terms…we continue to talk about the stat “1 in 5”…and we continue to only put ppl in disorder buckets.

 

We Are ALL A Little “Crazy”…until we accept that MH exists on a continuum that we are all on, and stop broadly using terms that separate us instead of unite us, we can’t expect to see the trends improve. Please join our #SameHere🤙Movement. We won’t stop gong to schools, colleges, offices, VFWs, etc., until everyone hears this message.

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