The first week of October is nationally recognized as Mental Illness Awareness week. The goal of this week is to bring better understanding, awareness, and acceptance about the existence of mental illness in the American population.
While, I appreciate any effort made on a national scale to reduce the stigma attached to mental disorders, I struggle with the words chosen; “metal illness.” Could it be that a stigma exists solely because the word “illness” is used?
I cannot say for sure, but I do know that at The Lighthouse, my colleagues and I prefer and use the terms mental and emotional health, that is we work at framing treatment as a proactive approach towards mental and emotional health. After all, the goal of any mental disorder treatment is to reduce symptoms and improve functionality, thus guiding you in the direction of health. As a Wellness Center, we further distinguish ourselves from other mental health practices in the area by providing tools from both eastern and western philosophies that help people holistically improve their mental health and emotional wellness.
During this Mental Illness Awareness week, I want to take a moment to remind you that we offer a complimentary first session at The Lighthouse. So if you know someone who may be struggling with mental health issues, please let them know about the benefits of the way we practice and encourage them to come see for themselves.
Additionally, if you yourself have recently stopped your treatment due to financial constraints, I want to extend an invitation for you to return and work with our new Intern, Rachael Matrejek, who is available to help clients unable to afford treatment.
Lastly, try to take a moment this week and think about what you or your loved ones do to either stigmatize or accept the mental health issues of others and be aware of what impact you might have in helping or hurting our cause. I encourage you all to move in the direction of acceptance, proactivity and health.
Joanna Tufexis, MA