Attention and Funding for Mental Health

I was talking with our Executive Director, and I was saying that it seemed lately much of what was being talked about in recovery seemed to be specifically about substance abuse. I was basing this off of email blasts that I receive from the recovery movement about jobs, and it seems there are a lot specifically for those who are in recovery from drugs and/or alcohol to help peers with substance abuse issues.

 It is also worth noting the availability of money from SAMSHA going more towards substance abuse rather than mental health issues only, which has been happening gradually, but is still very real.

I do not mean to suggest that substance abuse issues and helping people who are suffering with them is not important. I am in the understanding that so many people that have substance abuse issues are coming from a place of mental health issues as the origins.

I think most people are aware of the opioid epidemic and the horrible explosion of deaths across the country during these trying COVID times. It is very important to deal with these issues, but not to the detriment of treating and helping those whose main illness is their mental health issues.

People suffering from mental health issues only as their main diagnosis are indeed a large portion of the population. Our pain is real, and in many cases unimaginable, and deserves the time, energy, care and money to help and serve the people who have them specifically. Otherwise, we risk leaving people behind.

 People are suffering in silence, which just magnifies stigma and makes getting help take that much longer.  To be clear, we are talking about people who suffer from PTSD, depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, dissociative disorder, personality disorder, OCD, and many other mental health disorders. People whose very own brain chemicals without any help from other substances causes mental illness, causing horrible suffering.

It is nothing short of hell that brings a person to a diagnoses, and if they are lucky, medication that can help it. Not everyone chooses medication, but for those that find it helps, it can sometimes be a slow process, or even repetitive stays in mental health institutions, which this author can tell you, are not for the faint-hearted.

It is starting to feel more and more that the portion of people that fall under SAMSHA’s domain because of mental health issues only are not being addressed the same. In terms of where money goes, grants made available and flat out, our efforts to stop stigma and help as many people as we can may be getting glossed over. The only way for us to get others to see that there is an imbalance is for us to speak up. Thank you for the opportunity to have my voice heard. ~ Michelle

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