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Yom Chamishi, 29 Iyyar 5777

Israeli politician Mendel Menachem once said “If you see what needs to be repaired and how to repair it, then you have found a piece of the world that God has left for you to complete. But if you only see what is worn and what is ugly in the world, then it is you yourself that needs repair.” 

The National Alliance on Mental Illness reports that 1 in 5 of the youth in America live with a mental health condition- half develop the condition by the age 14 and three quarters by age 24.

Mental illness strikes as a double-edge sword. On one side are the symptoms, stress, and the illness. And on the other side is the the community’s reaction to illness, the prejudice and discrimination that makes up the stigma. 

Every life is touched by mental illness, it doesn’t matter if you are young, or old, man or women, black or white, it takes all of us in very personal ways. People who have a mental illness are excluded and treated unfairly. This is because people are afraid of mental illness. In the long run, stigma produces a kind of isolation that is produced from fear. Silence only perpetuates the stigma surrounding mental health. We need to open our heart, and mind to mental illness. We must bring it in to conversation. It is OK to talk about it, to talk out loud, without fear. As long as stigma exists, society is unable to proper in the fight against mental illness. The only shameful thing about mental illness is the stigma attached to it.

In order to put an end to this stigma, we need more openness, transparency, and an understanding that it’s OK to talk about depression, as an illness. Although some might feel mental illness in youth is an on and off switch that can simply be switched, we need to realize it’s not a moral shortcoming and it’s not something people brought on themselves.

 It is important to look to our youth that are facing mental illness and give then the reminder that they are NOT their illness. They have an individual story to tell. A name, a history and a personality. Helping them stay themselves is the hardest part of the battle. We need to create open dialog for our youth. We should constantly strive to be an open ear. No matter what time of day, under any condition. When given the opportunity to be that open ear, it is most important to listen. Not to say anything at all and simply be there for the person needing the shoulder. 

What mental health needs is more sunlight. More frankness. More unashamed conversations about illness that affect not only the individuals, but their families as well.

We can think of this as Tikkun Olam, repairing the world. Implying that each person has a hand in working towards the betterment of his or her own existence as well as the lives of future generations. Its our responsibility be there for the ones we love that are suffering. 

The stigma of mental illness erodes confidence that mental illnesses are real, treatable health conditions. We have allowed stigma to erect barriers around effective treatment about recovery. It is time to take those barriers down. It is time end the stigma. It is time to change and save lives. 

 

Israeli politician Mendel Menachem once said “If you see what needs to be repaired and how to repair it, then you have found a piece of the world that God has left for you to complete. But if you only see what is worn and what is ugly in the world, then it is you yourself that needs repair.”

The National Alliance on Mental Illness reports that 1 in 5 of the youth in America live with a mental health condition- half develop the condition by the age 14 and three quarters by age 24.

Mental illness strikes as a double-edge sword. On one side are the symptoms, stress, and the illness. And on the other side is the the community’s reaction to illness, the prejudice and discrimination that makes up the stigma.

Every life is touched by mental illness, it doesn’t matter if you are young, or old, man or women, black or white, it takes all of us in very personal ways. People who have a mental illness are excluded and treated unfairly. This is because people are afraid of mental illness. In the long run, stigma produces a kind of isolation that is produced from fear. Silence only perpetuates the stigma surrounding mental health. We need to open our heart, and mind to mental illness. We must bring it in to conversation. It is OK to talk about it, to talk out loud, without fear. As long as stigma exists, society is unable to proper in the fight against mental illness.The only shameful thing about mental illness is the stigma attached to it.

In order to put an end to this stigma, we need more openness, transparency, and an understanding that it’s OK to talk about depression, as an illness. Although some might feel mental illness in youth is an on and off switch that can simply be switched, we need to realize it’s not a moral shortcoming and it’s not something people brought on themselves.

 It is important to look to our youth that are facing mental illness and give then the reminder that they are NOT their illness. They have an individual story to tell. A name, a history and a personality. Helping them stay themselves is the hardest part of the battle. We need to create open dialog for our youth. We should constantly strive to be an open ear. No matter what time of day, under any condition. When given the opportunity to be that open ear, it is most important to listen. Not to say anything at all and simply be there for the person needing the shoulder.

What mental health needs is more sunlight. More frankness. More unashamed conversations about illness that affect not only the individuals, but their families as well.

We can think of this as Tikkun Olam, repairing the world. Implying that each person has a hand in working towards the betterment of his or her own existence as well as the lives of future generations. Its our responsibility be there for the ones we love that are suffering.

The stigma of mental illness erodes confidence that mental illnesses are real, treatable health conditions. We have allowed stigma to erect barriers around effective treatment about recovery. It is time to take those barriers down. It is time end the stigma. It is time to change and save lives.