Cindy Hoard

Inspirational Author and Psychologist

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Mental illness is considered a taboo topic by many people for any number of reasons
BUT, I believe that there are many roots to an individual’s reaction to hearing the words “mental illness.” One of the primary roots is not understanding what mental illness is! Not to mention social stigma, frustration without knowing what to do or say, shame for yourself or those closest to you to name a few.

A very concrete way to view mental illness is that it is a biological disorder like diabetes or any number of actual physical conditions we have to continue to work on understanding. We seem to have an easier ability to embrace the problems if the first explanation is not weird thinking or behavior, trauma, or . . .. There is plenty of documentation of hard physiological evidence of mental health conditions. If you are a nerd and want to read more about this aspect of understanding mental illness, let me know and I will gladly share resources with you.

Stay away from blame! There are definitely multiple factors to any mental illness such as relationships, trauma and life experiences. Blaming someone for whatever they are experiencing in any given moment, does not serve a purpose other than creating more pain. Consideration of aspects of a person’s life including relationships, trauma and life experiences is an important element of the development of a treatment plan. But compassion must be first and foremost.

Open your mind and look for ways to learn about and better understand mental illness. You do not need to be afraid, whether you are a patient, family member, employer or even a professional treating mental illness. There is never an end to what you can learn. The field keeps expanding regardless of your professional background and training. Chances are that the more you learn about it, the greater resource you can be to others.

So, there is no all-inclusive definition of mental illness to “learn”. There are many opportunities for everyone of us to expand our understanding and view of mental illness and ultimately become a resource and more importantly support for ourselves and others. Even trained professionals are constantly refreshing what they know and expanding their knowledge especially from those they work with and treat.
How are you or have you been personally affected?
Let’s talk.