In describing the background pertaining to Mental Health Month and this blog party, the American Psychological Association says:
Congress designated May as Mental Health Month in 1949 to illustrate the importance of mental health issues to the overall health and well-being of American citizens. On May 16, bloggers will come together for a Mental Health Month Blog Party to educate the public about mental health, decrease stigma about mental illness, and discuss strategies for making lasting lifestyle and behavior changes that promote overall health and wellness.
As an advocate for OCD awareness, I like to think this is what I do all of the time: raise awareness, educate, and help reduce stigma. I am fortunate to be part of a wonderful blogging community that understands and supports one another. I often feel encouraged that progress toward these goals is being made.
Then I get out into the “real world.” And I see, with my own eyes, that the stigma and prejudice against those with obsessive-compulsive disorder, indeed all mental health disorders, is alive and well. Outside of my comfortable cocoon, I have experienced, first-hand, how ignorant and close-minded some people still are in relation to mental illness. Discrimination against sufferers is still prevalent in our society.
And so I will keep doing what I’m doing, because we are a long way from where we need to be. I encourage others to not only advocate for mental health issues, but to be aware of, and care for, their own mental health concerns and needs. Good mental health, like good physical health, should not be taken for granted, and most of us will need some help along the way at some point. We are in this together, so it will benefit us all to work toward raising awareness, reducing stigma, and educating the public about all kinds of mental health issues.