No Shame In Treating Mental Illnesses - And Response

Friday, December 29, 2017

In any given year, one in five adults experience a mental illness  Forty-five million Americans suffer from PTSD, depression or anxiety, or schizophrenia.  Millennials are affected at a similar rate.  We all know someone who has struggled or will struggle to overcome mental health issues at some point in their lives.  And despite some improvement in rates of insurance and availability of services, over half of those affected by mental health issues do not receive treatment. 

In recent years, mental health issues have often been treated more as crime than as disease, particularly in the case of addiction to a controlled substance. In 2015, over 1.2 million people with mental illness were in jail or prison often for minor offenses related to their illnesses.

While we recognize that the road to recovery is possible, yet, as a society, we often think about mental health differently. 

There should be no shame in discussing or seeking help for treatable illnesses that affect too many of the people that we love.  We have to rid ourselves of the stigma and embarrassment associated with mental health issues. For far too long, our family members, friends, colleagues and neighbors suffer in silence rather than seek help. It is up to us to be our brother's keeper ensuring that both the men and women who would never hesitate to seek medical attention for the common cold possess the same attitude when it comes to their mental health. 

Councilwoman Demetrus Coonrod 

* * *

Amen to that Councilwoman Coonrod, 

It is just mind boggling to hear grown adults and people in position of authority mock those struggling with addiction and other forms of mental illness.   How fortunate for these adults to have such a blessed life that they have never had a form of mental illness, or a family member with mental illness.   I doubt that is the case, since almost all families struggle with trying to help save a family member from addiction or some form of  mental illness.  People still hide these matters like secrets. Why, I have no idea.  

It is acceptable to have diabetes, heart disease, and all kinds of physical problems, but a brain disease, God forbid.  Somehow, people have the idea that every organ in the body is allowed to be sick, or acquire disease, but if your brain gets disease, it is your fault.  You caused it, it was a choice.  

That is so absurd. However, that is how the shallow people think.  They believe that people chose to have mental illness. To me, that indicates, there is more of a problem with other people.    

Anyway, it brought me great joy to read your open perspective which is correct and filled with compassion for people in the struggle of their lives. If we had the cure for drug and alcohol addiction, we could literally empty prisons, and cut government spending by billions.  

It is truly the billions of dollars cure. What is the mechanism causes addiction and mental illnesses?  One day they will know. 

You wrote, "over half of those affected by mental illness do not receive treatment"  in your letter.  That is true. 

Treatment for the mentally ill is not as accessible as it should be.  I have become the task master in this area. Medical treatment with a psychiatrist is not accessible at all in my opinion, there are very few of them practicing in this region, and that is what serious mental illness requires.  Perhaps when Erlanger's new facility opens access to clinical, medical professionals will improve.  

Just to see how hard it is to access real qualified doctors. Call any psychiatrist in Chattanooga area and try to get an appointment, and you will hear, "we are not taking new patients."  You will not be able to get an appointment.  

You are the first elected official I have ever seen write a letter on the subject of the mental illness, I really like fact you will step out there where others won't. 

April Eidson



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