I read a fantastic article in an online Texas magazine called mySA by Frederick W. Hines. In the article Hines says:
"Imagine: 11-year-old Johnny falls during a game and breaks his arm. An ambulance rushes him to the emergency room, where the broken bone is set and a cast applied.
Johnny takes a selfie and posts to Instagram, while Mom checks-in on Facebook, thanking friends and family for their calls and support. Johnny attends school the next day where his accident is replayed over and over, each time with a little more bravado as kids line up to sign the cast and offer encouragement.
Neighbors bring over a casserole that evening and a batch of cookies to show their support.
Now imagine that Johnny was instead suffering from depression and anxiety. His circle of friends seems to be changing, he feels hopeless, and his parents are bewildered by what’s going on.
A routine visit to the pediatrician focuses on physical health, leaving Johnny feeling isolated.
Mom doesn’t know where to turn — after all, no one talks about mental, emotional or behavioral disorders. In fact, most parents feel blamed for their child’s mental illness, and worse, the child is often told to 'snap out of it.'
In desperation, Mom takes Johnny to the local ER after he expresses thoughts of harming himself. She has no idea that psychiatric services are not available at most area hospitals. They will spend hours and hours waiting, only to be told that the resources they need don’t exist in the ER.
As a community, we would never allow a child with a broken arm to go untreated, or wait three months for care. We would expose the issues and work together to resolve the system of care. We certainly wouldn’t blame the child or their parents for the situation. But we do it every day for children and families suffering from mental illness."
These are powerful words. Why do we allow mental illness to take a backseat to other illnesses? Are we afraid of those who have a mental illness? If we are afraid, wouldn't it be smarter to make sure treatment was received, without stigma, before the person became overwhelmed and did something dangerous?
We need to take this out of the shadows and talk about it.
This article goes on to tell us about a sight to get involved in to support children in need. Please have a look at it and #talkaboutit.