Friday, October 10, 2014

The "Stigma" of Mental Health Disorders

It's the Friday of Mental Health Awareness Week here in the U.S.A.  I thought it important that I say something about this issue since I am a health-care practitioner.   I coach people in physical, emotional, and spiritual health and although I am primarily a nutritionist by training I think I have a responsibility to talk to each of my clients about their "whole person."   More often than not I find that although I may be asked to help with dietary, exercise,  or sleep issues;  at the end of a period of assessement, most everyone I talk to is really dealing with an emotional or a spiritual issue.  These issues are always affecting their physical health or productivity in some way.

Image result for photos of mental health

 I am really perplexed on why, in the year 2014 we still look at mental health as something that is so difficult to address.  This can be especially true when it affects someone in our own family.  Or, even if we are honest and open about discussing a mental health issue that may prevail in our own families, others can be very hesitant to enter into a discussion about it.  It's as if they want to rationalize it away.  Denial ( Stands for:  Don't. Even. Know. I.  Am.  Lying.) in this way is very, very strong.   Somehow talking about cancer, heart disease, or any of the other serious ailments is acceptable but saying that someone has bi-polar, schizophrenia, any kind of dementia,  or even depression or PTSD somehow implies that they are weak.  I've even heard people deny that a loved-one has severe mental issues because for some reason they are embarrassed or ashamed to admit it.  (As if the person affected has done something wrong to cause it?)   Sharing the news of a family mental health issue can be received with the same emotion as delivering a four-letter word.
 We need to change this perception of mental health.  I believe that we all need to address this epidemic affecting our societies and be honest about the stigma surrounding it.  We need to get our heads out of the sand.  I also don't think that  pharmaceutical drugs are necessarily the answer.  In fact, in some cases, with the exception of stabilizing the patient, the drugs can do more harm than good.  (If you are currently on medicine this is not meant to shame or scold you....just saying that often times there are other options)  If you are taking medicine I am not saying to stop taking it!  Please don't misunderstand me.   I am only saying that medicine is not always the answer.   However there are many things you can do about your diet, your neurology (your brain health), and by adding certain nutrients.  I can help you with these things. 

I love what I do.  Coaching people and talking to them about body, mind, and soul health is my passion.  If you are struggling and need to talk to someone you can reach out to me. I don't accept payment, I only ask for a tax-deductible donation to my ministry.   If I think your issue is beyond my scope of education and expertise I will refer you to a trusted professional.  To reach me you can email:

If you suspect that you may be having trouble with any mental health issues,  in order to take a complimentary assessment of your mental health you can use this link  here to take your anxiety and depression questionnaire which is sponsored by The Amen Clinic.  I know Dr. Amen.  More than once he has been a big help to my family and friends.  I trust him.

God wants you to be healthy in body, mind, and soul.  Please don't be afraid, embarrassed, or ashamed of not being in tip-top mental health.   There is help for you!  Reach out to me or to someone you trust.

**Also join me for "The Call" on October 15th at 6pm Pacific time.  Dial 530-881-1300 and key-in 642848#   Tell anyone you know who may need some mid-month encouragement (who doesn't?!)   Join me every month, same time, same phone number. 


  1. Yes, oh yes the stigma of having needed help with a mental/emotional disorder plagues those like I who needed help after my first Grandson was killed at age 2 1/2. I was quietly considered by my employer to be "handled with care" which meant easing me out of my "corner office" and eventually, when the writing was on the wall, I took a "leave" and wondered why I never heard or could see anyone at my office, friends I had worked with for 15 years. I learned later that all had been warned that talking to me might raise the anxiety and the corporate policy was to never have contact as the employee (me) might have a case to sue for exacerbating of my condition.

    My Grandson had been killed and not immediately died but lay unconscious for a week until he was taken off life support. I needed, as you Donna say, whole person care for mind body spirit as my mind was distraught, my body was caving in and my spirit, though challenged was holding me together. The loss of friends at work and the funeral all took a toll BUT I was in HIS loving embrace and HE carried me through the valley. There are times all need care as trauma comes, hopefully not in the loss of a Grandchild but getting through yourself alone is not good and society stigma makes it harder.

    Thank goodness there are those like you Donna and your practice, though this all happened to my family before I knew you. Society too is better now, with organizations like AIS (Accommodation, Information and Support) that help here in Canada. Thank you for a post on this topic.


    1. Once again. Thank you for your honest and thoughtful comment J.R. You have been through some really tough tragedies and situations but all in all you have kept your faith and you wonderful, positive mental attitude. You are one in a million. Thank you for inspiring all of us. Sincerely, Donna

  2. Great post & I couldn't agree more.

  3. Thank you Michael for sharing you personal tragedy with us. I am so inspired by your strong faith in God. I went though a difficult time when my father died from a tragic accident a few years ago. He lived for a week after and we had to make the decision to take him off life support. He had a strong faith in God and that helped me to cope with his passing. My faith in God helped me through that experience as well. God bless you for your courage to share your experience.

  4. Yes Elizabeth, faith certainly helps get us through such times as you would have suffered after your Dad's accident. I certainly appreciate your kind thoughts which I just came to, though you posted them last week. I am glad your faith helped you too. That word "through" which you used and, as in 23rd Psalm, ( "Yea though I walk "through".... )is so important for me as it means we have or are going to make it to better times well, as we are are with the "Comforter" always and forever...Jan-Michael


Thank you for taking the time to comment on my blog. Please try to stay on the topic and remember also that there are many who are struggling through all kinds of challenges. Let's all be kind and thoughtful with our comments please! :D