“We cannot be silent about another threat to the emotional health of people. In addition to biological factors, psychological and environmental factors contribute to mental illness,” wrote a man by the name of Jeffrey Freedman in a letter to the editor to The New York Times. Freedman is a former president of the New York County branch of the American Psychiatric Association.
Freedman makes an important point. All too often, mental health is silenced. Not enough people advocate for fair and extensive treatment of mental health or emotional health the way they do for medical health. Mostly, that is because not enough people know about mental health and the importance of emotional health. People are silenced because their information system silences what they need to know. Consequently, many cannot and do not know how to recognize the symptoms of a mental health disorder. Individuals are commonly labeled as crazy, sick, or being too emotional before they are labeled as mentally ill. Labeling is a direct result of a lack of information which contributes to ongoing stigmatization and shaming of mental illness. If someone coughs up blood, they are encouraged to see a doctor immediately. If someone is depressed, they are often ridiculed and told to just “get over it”. This leads to another problem.
It is not just the people on the other side of mental health, being those without mental health disorders, who are silenced. Those who suffer from mental health disorders themselves feel silenced in their suffering. They are ashamed and afraid to speak up about their emotional experiences. Coping with mental illness without the proper therapy or behavioral modification can be detrimental. Alcohol abuse, drug abuse, self-harm, and suicide frequently follow lack of mental health treatment.
Scientific research has proven many times over that depression and poor emotional health enhance physical illness. Depression worsens dementia, alzheimer’s, cancer, and many other illnesses. Both scientific and philosophical texts have argued that helplessness or hopelessness can influence someone to give up on life.
Choosing to get informed, get help, and enter treatment for a mental health disorders doesn’t just change your life, it changes the world. If you or a loved one are concerned about mental and emotional health, call Avalon Malibu today for a private consultation and information on our residential treatment programs. 1 888-958-7511.