Mental Illness is a harsh reality to some. Many people feel that because there are no lab test, x-ray or physical manifestation of mental illness means that it is not real. The whole truth is that it is real. A common mental illness is depression. Depression can be described as a very dark whole sugar-coated with anger and despair. Many people, whether they will admit it or not, have had a problem with this brain disease at one time or another during their life-time. As we get older, coping becomes a strategy and not free-will. Issues such as divorce, death, past due bills, child support, relationship troubles just to name a few, can take any of us to a place of almost no return.
Depression if left untreated can lead to suicide which is the 3rd leading cause of death in America.
With this brain disease being so ubiquitous in society, you would think that mental health professionals would have a better handle on the disease. This is not the case currently. You might be asking “why do I think there are such poor outcomes in the treatment of depression.”
Well, let me give you a few reasons that I feel may be causing this…
- Poorly trained clinicians in America- Not just any and everyone wants to be a clinician. This is a brain disease and only trained professionals should be handling people diagnosed with this disorder. I really love the fact that Steve Harvey ALWAYS defers to a trained clinician when there are specific issues on his show that require either a psychiatrist or psychologist.
- Poor medication People generally don’t like to take oral agents. This is a problem across all disease states. However, with antidepressants many of out-patients never even pick-up a refill or the initial prescription. This may have something to do with the stigma of having a mental illness.
- Poor social support systems. I dare not point to the church but we use to have different avenues for self-expression and catharsis. This is just not the case anymore. The church in its proper state can sometimes lead to or cause further stress in a person’s life if they are not careful.
- Access to proper healthcare. This is still a problem. Many people still have NOT signed-up for Obama-Care and are still utilizing the ER as stop-gap to their diseases and distress.
- Lack of culturally sensitive providers in the area of mental health. People from different backgrounds and communities are different. A lot of people don’t want to accept this fact but I understand what “got to shouting” at church means. This does not mean the person had a fit or psychotic break, it is a form of release or praise in the traditional Black Church. There are some things that are culturally sensitive and all providers just can’t handle. When people run into an insensitive blunder this may turn them away for a lifetime.
Mental illness and Depression are real and have to be dealt with aggressively. If not, the outcomes can be deadly. Do you know of any family members that may be a little sad or depressed? Take the time this month and educate yourself on identifying mental illness and possible methods of treatment. You may have the opportunity to make a difference not only for yourself but for someone else’s life. Send the link to this blog to them. There is both fun and serious reading to help the souls of those crying out for help.