From NAMIBlog by Theo Bennett:
It’s no secret that mental health is routinely treated differently than physical health, but sometimes it’s difficult to understand how or why this affects us. This disparity can take many shapes and forms, ranging from negative societal perceptions to discrimination in health coverage for mental health. Consequently, this unequal treatment of mental and physical illnesses leads to unequal results.
If we don’t recognize mental illnesses as physical health issues, then we will never get people the treatment that they need. One of the few certainties that I have learned from living with a father with bipolar disorder is that mental health is just as important as physical health. In fact, mental health is physical health; the two are inseparable. It baffles me that many people continue to make a distinction between the two.
In an effort to better understand the subtlety of mental illness, I have sought out opportunities that have changed both my life and my perception of mental illness. I went from reading articles online in my free time to doing hands-on research about the physiological development of mental illness at Dr. Renee Reijo-Pera’s Stem Cell Institute and the Center for Mental Health Research and Recovery at Montana State University.
While our current generation of medication and treatment can be frustrating at times, I have seen how learning more about the underlying biochemical pathways holds great promises for the future. My journey has also become an adventure all across the nation advocating for a more humanistic perspective of mental health. The ability to speak up and share what I’ve discovered with people and the chance to connect with others in similar experiences have been some of the most fulfilling experiences in my life…
Also come see Theo Bennett speak at the 2015 NAMI National Convention in San Francisco during the Opening Session on Tuesday, July 7.