The revelation that the tragic crash of Germanwings 9525 was intentionally caused by a pilot that had reported an episode of severe depression has brought new awareness to mental health issues. However, rather than helping people recognize the importance of getting mental health treatment, these types of high profile incidents might make people less likely to seek mental health treatment.
People will look at the severity of this situation and determine that because they would never resort to anything similar to what the Germanwings pilot did, they don’t need help. Alternatively they may be concerned that if others find out that they have received mental health care, they may be viewed as being unfit for responsibility or even potentially violent.
As you think about your own situation or that of a loved one, I want to advocate for mental health. Your mental health should be as important to you as your physical health and you should it approach it with the same level of care. I look forward to the day when a mental health visit is as routine as a dental screening or an annual physical or when people feel as comfortable reaching out to a mental health provider in times of stress or crisis as they do reaching out to their primary care physician when they get a virus or sprain an ankle.
The website, Changedirection.org, is running a campaign (#ChangeMentalHealth) to raise awareness about the signs of mental illness. I want to promote their efforts in my blog because too many people suffer unnecessarily because of the stigma and lack of awareness around mental health issues. The five signs are:
- Personality Change
- Poor Self-Care
There are so many resources available. If you, or anyone you love, is showing any of these five signs, please get help. Their website has a link to a variety of resources https://www.changedirection.org/help-line-resources/ Whether it is a crisis or an issue of quality of life, you and your loved ones deserve the support available to you.