This is not a political post…….they are not allowed on our platform and I don’t write them.
After watching the reaction in the United States to the Supreme Court’s ruling on gay marriage, I feel that there is an opportunity for the mental health community and our advocacy efforts.
The reaction from the news media, government, corporations, celebrities and social media has been astonishing.
Could you have imagined any of this a decade ago? What happened and what can we learn from this massive paradigm shift to help people struggling with mental illness?
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) issued statistics in 2014 (Link) finding that 96.6% of adults over the age of 18 identified as straight. This suggests that about 3.4% of the population was directly affected by the ruling. The National Alliance on Mental Illness tells us that 1 in 4 adults are effected by mental illness. Said differently, over seven times the number of people are battling mental illness than had a vested interest in the right to marriage equality.
A simple Google search comparing results for each causes efforts tells the same story. Gay rights advocacy returned 17.9 million results verse 66.3 million for mental health advocacy.
There are thousands of fantastic people and organizations working in the mental health community. But, the reality is we are not getting the same results as those working for gay rights. Why is that? I have never wanted to ‘fight stigma’ with the ConquerWorry.org platform. Based on my experience it just appeared futile as someone is going to think what they want to think. I am starting to change my thoughts on that narrative. Last year I had an opportunity to interview Dr. Jon Rottenberg on the Conquer Worry Podcast. He is the author of The Depths: The Evolutionary Origins of the Depression Epidemic. He suggested that the youth of today are open to social change more than any other generation. Jon went on to say that could have long term implications for the mental health community as it relates to stigma. After seeing the reaction to the Supreme Courts ruling, I have to agree and the power of grassroots stigma fighting are apparent.
Consider that A WSJ/NBC survey in March found that 59% of Americans support same-sex marriage while in 2004 that number was only 30%. A 100% increase in 11 years!
Our mission at ConquerWorry.org has been to create awareness of the resource that are available to those who struggle with their mental health. The first step to recovery is getting professional help and it is a step that too few people actually take. The consequences of not getting help can be dire. Imagine if corporations, governments, celebrities and social media platforms were actively advocating to reduce the stigma for those struggling with their mental health? What type of results would we see? How many lives could be saved or changed for the better? Let’s get to work.
Jay Coulter is a Mental Health Advocate, Professional Speaker, Blogger, Podcast Producer and founder of ConquerWorry.org. The platform's mission is to create awareness of the resources that are available to those who struggle with their mental health. Conquer Worry has over 100,000 social media followers and we would love to have you in our community. The ConquerWorry.org community can be found online and on most social media platforms.
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