For many, the thought of seeking mental health treatment is met with the statement “I’m not crazy” due to stigma attached to this social issue which plagues more people than not. I gained much knowledge as a mental health professional and in my studies leading up to a career as a clinician. What I know for sure is that initially the only difference between people who seek mental health treatment versus those who don’t is that the people who do get help actually acknowledge their issues.
Many people out here are masking their unresolved issues and self medicating through methods including simple every day things like eating, smoking, social drinking, shopping etc. Seems harmless right? Well, just like much of everything else these are simple things that can turn into vices if not managed properly. Eating and shopping are deemed socially acceptable so they go overlooked because there is not much stigma attached. The result? People continue on ignoring their problems leaving issues unresolved while engaging their temporary fixes which do nothing but make matters worse. Either they are aware but are unsure, are aware but just don’t care enough or are simply unaware. A major barrier to seeking mental health treatment for many is fear. Fear of stigma is a big one.
There are people who honestly don’t realize they have unresolved issues until things go awry. Some deny it for fear of being judged because of stigma attached to seeking help. “I’m not crazy” is the typical response. First, there are many levels of mental illness. Not all levels of severity involve the extreme cases which are all too often the depiction by society including the media. It does not make you “crazy” to need and/or seek help. What truly is “crazy” is when you know you need help but don’t do anything about it. This goes for parents as well; parents who have kids that they know need help whether it is behavioral, developmental, mental, drug and/or alcohol issues. You are doing those you love a major disservice by not getting them the help they need. As parents that is your responsibility. If your kids fall short later in life due to your lack of action or inaction it is because of your failure to fulfill your role.
This does not apply to those who are not in a position to do so mentally, physically, financially etc. We are a part of a system which is failing many of us tremendously in this area. As a result there are many who seek treatment but can not receive it due to systemic barriers. However, if you do have the means and access to resources you have no excuse. I have much respect for the people who get help personally and seek help for their loved ones instead of living in denial (and ignorance knowingly) as if everything is all good when it really is not. There is a difference when you are aware and have the means. Many people are aware and do not so it really is not their fault for the system failing them. That is a whole other story I will get into later. Until then, let it be known that no one is crazy for acknowledging that they need help.