Mental Health in America: A Report Card (cont.)
Often one of the best ways to do that is to listen to those who care about you, close family members, but also to perhaps see your family doctor. It may be explainable by other kinds of health conditions, but it may not be. And if not, hopefully that person can help you unravel what's going on and get you into the right treatments that you may need.
It is a similar description for family members. When you observe those kinds of changes in your family members, I think the first order of intervention is to mention that to them, that you have observed this change and that you're concerned about it. And if you're concerned enough about it, you suggest that they see somebody about it and maybe even offer to accompany them when they take care of it.
Stigma comes from often ignorance, sometimes fear and other kinds of conditions that can be fixed with education and with reaching out and talking with people who have these kinds of conditions.
There are a number of wonderful organizations out there for people with mental illnesses, for family members, and for others who care about these issues, such as the National Mental Health Association, the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill, and a number of other organizations that are oriented towards assisting people in learning more about illnesses and how to manage them effectively.
It is both an issue of education and intervening when you see these misuses of terms and pejorative language to describe people who are experiencing a health condition.
Our program is designed to assist journalists in writing accurately and to understand better how their use of language can be very important in uncovering these myths and these misstatements about mental disorders and the people who experience them. So far, our work suggests that they can be highly effective spokespersons in explaining the experiences of mental illness and particularly from the voices of those who actually have those illnesses.
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