Nearly 44 million adults experience an episode of mental illness in any given year according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). Of these, the experience of 10 million adults in the United States with mental illness was so severe that it significantly interfered with a major life activity.
According to a study conducted at the University of California in 2015, a significantly higher percentage of surveyed entrepreneurs showed signs of mental illness than the general population.
Only 41% of adults in need received mental health services in the past year. What’s stopping us from getting the help we desperately need?
…To read part 1 of this series…
Although a common problem among us, mental illness in America, in all its forms, is still marked by stigma and shame. This false perception of shameless disorder has been partly responsible for individuals not getting the help they need.
“It’s much harder to think of an anxiety disorder or an obsessive-compulsive disorder helping a person excel in business,” said Claudia Kalb, author of Andy Warhol was a Hoarder: Inside the Minds of History’s Great Personalities, s speaking to the Harvard Business Journal. .
“Stigma stems from not understanding what mental health issues are and not realizing that we all have at least some of these characteristics,” Kalb said. “Part of the reason for learning more about these conditions is not to label people, but to better understand where people are coming from – and how, in a business context, some of these attributes can be positive. .”
While it’s very tempting to remain daunted by the stigma of a diagnosis, understand that you are not alone and we all share similar issues from time to time.
With the passage of the Affordable Care Act, Americans hoped that access to personal health insurance would be both easier to obtain and less expensive. The US Small Business Administration reported in 2014 that more than 75% of businesses are known as “employerless” businesses. These companies create a single job – usually the owner of the company – and have no one else on the payroll.
Due to changes in insurance laws, many of these people have had to give up the health care options they often had under previous insurers and face higher rates on new health care exchanges. for less comprehensive insurance plans.
Premiums for some policyholders have risen nearly 10% over the past two years, and depending on the state they live in and income goals, many people are bracing for big increases in insurance prices this year, with estimates ranging from 16% to 65%. increased.
As publisher of the Washington Post, Newsweek, and owner of several television and radio stations, Phil Graham was a man with money and power. Yet despite his wealth and privilege, he was not immune to mental illness. Her journey with serious mental illness began in 1957 and continued for years thereafter.
Katherine Graham has never forgotten her husband’s tears, even decades later. “He was in tears and in desperation,” she told the Baltimore Sun, “he was…helpless, immobilized.”
At a time when stigma ran deep and treatment options very limited, there was little help that could be found, and Phil’s rapid descent into illness included hospitalization and invasive electroconvulsive therapy, all while vain. Throughout it all, Katherine carried out doctor’s orders, trying to talk Phil out of manic episodes, talking for hours to try and cheer him up.
We know that we ask our loved ones to carry heavy loads for us contractors and try to lighten their load. Yet, by not seeking help in an attempt not to disturb them, we are not helping them.
A study by Rogers, Stafford and Garland at Baylor University found that for family members of people with mental illness, high levels of subjective and objective burdens were reported, with many family members having struggling to manage their own feelings about mental illness. and their beloved.
We don’t make our loved ones’ path easier by refusing to seek and get the help we need, but rather we damn them with a heavier burden, despite our well-meaning intentions.
In her powerful book, The Dangers of Willful Blindness, Margaret Heffernan discusses the all-too-familiar concept of people who don’t want to allow themselves to think about things that end in conflict or rock the boat, personally or professionally.
“We cannot notice everything and know everything: the cognitive limits of our brain simply do not allow it. This means that we have to filter or modify what we absorb. So what we choose to let through and leave out is crucial,” Heffernan writes. “We primarily admit information that makes us feel good about ourselves, while conveniently filtering out anything that disturbs our fragile egos and most vital beliefs.”
For many of us, it’s not that we don’t want to admit we need help, but rather that we just can’t afford to see it, even in the best of times! If you’re having trouble seeing life clearly through the lens of mental illness, it’s even harder.
Being open with yourself about things that are real and things that aren’t, and acknowledging that things might not be right, is the first step to finding help.
You don’t need to find help on your own. Asking someone for help can often be uncomfortable, especially on something as personal as your own health, but it is the crucial step towards recovery. Find a trusted recovery partner who you trust to help you find someone who can provide the level of support you need.
While your healthcare provider is the best first stop to discuss what’s going on with you physically or emotionally, it’s important to have a support network that can be there for you between doctor visits.
There are other more immediate resources for those who need them:
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week either by calling 1-800-273-8255 or by going to their website and participating in an online chat.
For those who prefer texting options with trained crisis counselors, the Crisis Text Line is available 24/7 via text “Go” to 741741. Both options are confidential and provide immediate support for you and your family.
Once you have started treatment or counseling, stay educated and informed about the challenges you are facing. You share control of your recovery journey with your doctor or counselor; find out all you can from trusted sources about the specific challenge you’re facing and stay involved in making informed treatment decisions about your care.
You are the most important thing in the world to your family, not your business, not your perceived notions of success – you. If you don’t get anything else out of this article, know that. You are not alone and professional help is available.