By: Guest Blogger Audra Anderson
People with serious mental illnesses may have difficulty retaining viable and sustainable employment. Some are so affected; they are on disability, because the illness affects their ability to work.
Many do not make enough money to buy healthy foods, or to live on their own. Many cannot afford the medications they may need, or even basic dental care.
There are those who are homeless, in shelters, or even in jail. Many remain untreated, some by choice, others because there is no one to look out for them anymore.
When a child starts showing “behavioral issues” in an educational environment, how many times does the child get suspended, or labeled, but not given the additional services they really need?
How many teenagers with mental illness drop out of school rather than face another day of seemingly failure and finger pointing? How many cut, begin to self-medicate, become sexually promiscuous?
How many die by suicide?
This is not acceptable!
People with mental illness are people too. They laugh, they cry, they feel everything anyone else does. They need food, clothes, and shelter just like everyone else.
They want and need to be loved just like everyone else, sometimes maybe even a little more.
Why is it socially acceptable that people with mental illnesses are stigmatized, segregated and ignored?
What message do we as a society send when we allow these conditions to continue?
Every time we look the other way, or fail to advocate for someone in need, we perpetuate the system that tells those with mental illness that we do not value them enough for them to live a life in pursuit of freedom, security and love.
Each time a person with mental illness in need of food, health care, shelter, or education is denied these basic needs, we tell them they are not loved and they are of no value to society.
There is no expectation that they will recover, or contribute to society in a meaningful way.
These messages are false and need to be rejected.
Every person that walks this earth has a greater meaning, are part of a larger purpose.
“The loneliest people are the kindest. The saddest people smile the brightest. The most damaged people are the wisest. All because they do not wish to see anyone else suffer the way they do.”
We all should be loved. We all have value.