Opinion

EDITORIAL: Long way to go on mental illness

Few can argue that mental illness touches everyone.

There are, of course, those who have been diagnosed. Then there are their children, siblings, parents, friends and co-workers.

Even complete strangers are often hit with the ripples, as society bears the burden of missed work days, medical visits, inadequate treatment options, etc.

It doesn’t matter that research has led to many strategies and treatments that can help sufferers live productive, even normal, lives.

Perhaps if it felt easier to talk openly about mental illness, things would be different.

For those directly affected, it can feel simpler to try to ignore the reality.

While there have been great strides in the realm of mental illness, society still has a hard time accepting it as a disease.

‘Mental illness’ is still a phrase that doesn’t dare get said in polite company.

But slowly that shroud is lifting.

Some people are becoming more brave to step into the spotlight, to talk about their own struggles.

Clara Hughes, for instance. The former Canadian Olympic cyclist and speedskater shared the story of her own family’s battles with mental illness as she cycled 12,000 kms across Canada. Clara’s “Big Ride” concluded on July 1 in Ottawa and connected with more than 23,000 young people in 105 communities.

People like Hughes, and those enduring their challenges less publicly, know the difference that acceptance—both of the conditions and the person trying to live with them—makes, and we can all learn from them.

But there is still a long way to go.

No one should feel the need to hide something they cannot control.

The reality is, many of us share the blame for the fact so many people do just that.

 

—Peace Arch News

 

 

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