May is National Mental Health Awareness Month and more and more people are taking notice. Every year at this time various campaigns from very large corporations, small businesses, and public entities share their views on mental health and start important conversations.
At one time, most conversations about mental health took place behind closed doors using whispers in fear of the stigma associated with the issue — that’s if people were brave enough to start the process and even have a conversation in the first place. Today, mental health has become front and center for so many people as everyone begins to realize they are not alone in their struggles.
A Common Cause
Depression is an illness that knows no boundaries. It is not selective and does not discriminate against anyone, whatever their age, gender, race, religion, nationality, or economic level. It affects people from all walks of life. It causes them psychic pain, loss of pleasure, inability to connect with loved ones, family and friends, poor performance at work, loss of energy and loss of hope.
Even the toughest, most famous, successful, and richest people who look like they have it all and appear to be in total control of their lives are still human and subject to the same thoughts and feelings everyone else is. People can hide any feeling they choose to. It’s not like skin color or body size.
In fact, many high-profile individuals have publicly shared their own experiences with depression such as Halle Berry, Terry Bradshaw, Ashely Judd, Ben Stiller, Ellen Degeneres, Anthony Hopkins, Larry King, Billy Joel, Heather Locklear, Buzz Aldrin, Barbara Bush, Richard Dreyfuss, Brooke Shields, Linda Hamilton, Zach Braff, Jim Carrey, Kirsten Dunst, Winona Ryder, Mark Twain, Ray Romano, Gwyneth Paltrow, Mike Wallace, Anne Rice, Eric Clapton, and Sheryl Crow among so many, many others. Think about it. The tough Buzz Aldrin – BUZZ “LANDED ON THE MOON” ALDRIN – who trained for, went through, and survived one of the most grueling and tough experiences a human can ever have, still struggled on the inside with the same thoughts and feelings that you or anyone else has.
According to the Hope for Depression Research Foundation, “each time a high-profile individual publicly shares their own experience with depression, they help overcome the stigma of depression and reinforce the fact that depression is a real ‘medical’ illness. They speak as a celebrity; they suffer like any other human being. For every celebrity with the courage to speak out, there are millions of people who suffer from depression in silence. Our hope is that these celebrities’ stories encourage them to seek help.”
The sad reality is that untreated depression too often leads to suicide. The positive reality is that depression can be treated with proper professional help like the support system found at Maison Vie New Orleans.
As family-focused therapists, we at Maison Vie greatly appreciate the marketing efforts made during #MentalHealthAwarenessMonth. Increasing public awareness acknowledges mental illness as a real struggle in the daily lives for many families. Our hope is that families hear the messages and start talking with each other about their feelings, thoughts, and interactions. Families and friends sharing their truths is vital action toward supporting recovery.
Here to Help
When life seems difficult and you need a safe, confidential place to go, we’re here to help during Mental Health Awareness Month and beyond. Contact Maison Vie New Orleans Therapy and Counseling for more information.