It’s Mental Health Awareness Month. So Let’s Talk About It…

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, so I’m going to use my time to talk about it a little about it. There might be a little cussing (not cursing), but some of y’all who have read my work or have talked to me personally knows that my language can be a little colorful, especially when I’m passionate about something. So I’m not holding my tongue now, and I’m not apologizing. Don’t let that distract from the message that I’m trying to put out.

For starters, I don’t like talking about politics. I try to avoid political talk because politics brings the evil out of people (same reason why I don’t try to talk about religion). But I hate when politics try to dictate our sense of humanity and compassion, especially when the politicians in question don’t have a sense of humanity and compassion to begin with. For instance, the Republicans’ attempt to get rid of ObamaCare, to replace it with their version of a health care bill that equates screwing a major segment of the population with a sandpaper shaft. ObamaCare is not a perfect health care plan, but why get rid of it and replace, especially since it’s already so embedded in our system as it is? I have my own beliefs and conclusions for that, but that’s not what this post is about. What bothers me so much about this attempt is how it will screw people with pre-existing conditions, something that insurance companies were doing for years before ObamaCare. One example of pre-existing conditions: mental illness.

Luckily for me, my mental health care is taken of by VA, and as long as they continue to provide the services that veterans need, I will always be treated by VA. For that reason, I don’t necessarily need to sign up for a universal plan. But there are millions of Americans who aren’t so fortunate. Unless their care is taken of by a service that is fully understanding, they are looking to be left out in the cold. Treatment for the various mental illnesses usually require a combination of lifetime treatment, specifically medication and therapy. A lot of them, such as bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, requires more than one medication. Personally, I have to take three to four different medication to keep mine as much under wraps as possible. Psychiatric medications, just like most medications, are not cheap. Before I got into the VA system in 2011, a doctor diagnosed me with bipolar (I didn’t tell you about that), and gave me prescription for four different meds. Since I was paying out-of-pocket and had no insurance, I could only afford three; the other one was about two hundred dollars. A month later, VA put me in the system and they filled the prescriptions for me. So I know that these meds first hand that these meds aren’t cheap. For that reason alone, I think that it’s cruel with the Republicans are attempting to do, but what do their care? Of the subject, I hate all political parties. I feel that none of them truly represent the people.

But I’m not going to keep bitching about how fucked up our politicians are, even though they’re doing more to setback the direction we need to go to help people who are mentally ill, as if there are already not enough issues that the mentally ill has to deal with. For example, I feel like that there’s simply not enough facilities to treat the mentally ill, nor do I feel like the main people who are at the forefront aren’t probably trained. In addition to that, states are either not providing enough funding for those facilities or training, they are slashing funding in some cases. This isn’t me just talking out of my ass. This has been an issue that has been addressed for a long time. To give you an idea of how much this has been brought up to no avail, read a report from the National Alliance on Mental Illness from 2011.

What irritates me even more is when some incident happens that grabs national attention, they are quick to jump to the fact that this individual has (or had, if he or she is dead) a mental illness, and uses this as a way to basically hang this individual on a cross. I’m not saying this to justify criminal actions of people with mental illnesses. But what I want to point out is that people, the government in particularly, are quick to use this as a means to burn said individual at the stake. However, the government wants to find ways to deny the very help that these people need, and probably were begging for. They much rather spend the money on irrelevant bullshit.

I’m sick of it. I’m sick of seeing legitimate people with legitimate mental health struggles treated like animals or second-class citizens. I’m sick of people looking at mental illness as not as significant as someone with physical illnesses and other ailments. While they are tragic and should not be ignored by any means, just because mental illnesses aren’t always visible doesn’t make them unimportant. Millions of people suffer from some kind of mental illness, whether it’s bipolar disorder or schizophrenia. Depression or anxiety. Borderline personality disorder or eating disorders. That doesn’t include all, but you get my drift.

Will I stop complaining and addressing these issues? No. In fact, there’s more to come. But I want to put a little bit out there for people to kind of chew on.

It’s time for people, whether they are regular people or our so-called leaders in state and federal governments, to get their heads out of their fucking asses, look around, and see what the hell is going on. Instead of pointing fingers, coming up with false justifications, and hiding behind political power that the people gave to you in the first place, let’s get together and figure out how to help people who are suffering from mental illnesses, just like how we’re working to address and cure all physical illnesses and disabilities. We’re suffering to.

Chew on that. I’ll see y’all later.

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