The recent passing of former First Lady Rosalynn Carter has us thinking of all of the people who have been passionately dedicated to reducing the stigma around mental health disorders. For Mrs. Carter, issues related to mental health were at the center of decades of work and advocacy. From leading important commissions to writing books on the subject to creating a program to train aspiring journalists to cover issues related to mental health, Mrs. Carter made the cause of eliminating stigma her life’s work.
Throughout her life, Mrs. Carter remained optimistic that improvements in the understanding and treatment of mental health disorders were always possible. As she put it at the annual Rosalynn Carter Symposium in 1999:
“We now have an opportunity to advance many of the objectives of the mental health community, including de-stigmatizing mental illnesses, educating the public about the many advances in diagnosis and treatment of mental illness, and attracting more professionals, especially researchers, to the field of mental health and mental illnesses.”
Mrs. Carter’s work was extremely influential, and her contributions to the mental health community cannot be overstated. But, of course, hers was not the only voice encouraging us all to reframe the way we think about and treat mental health illness.
Here are some additional wise words about mental health.
“There is no health without mental health.” – Former Surgeon General David Satcher
It is hard to imagine a more succinct way of expressing the importance of mental health to everyone’s overall well-being.
Dr. Satcher was the Surgeon General of the United States during the administrations of President Bill Clinton and President George W. Bush, and he and his team produced the first-ever Surgeon General’s Report on Mental Health.
His very direct analysis is extremely important. It can be so easy to think of our mental health as wholly independent of our physical health. But the truth is that the two are intertwined. To be truly well, we must take care of both aspects of our overall health.
“If you break your leg, you’re going to go to the doctor to get that leg healed. If…something inside you feels like it’s wounded, it’s just like a physical injury. You’ve got to go get help. There’s nothing weak about that. It’s strong.” – President Barack Obama
Far too many people think of mental health disorders as a weakness of some kind. These folks often advocate for a “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” approach to dealing with symptoms of depression or anxiety or what have you. If only you were more mentally strong, they might argue, you wouldn’t feel the way you do.
But President Obama rightfully rejects that idea. Getting the help you need for a mental health disorder is not a sign of weakness at all. In fact, it should be as natural and as accepted as getting help for a physical injury or illness.
“Anything that’s human is mentionable, and anything that is mentionable can be more manageable. When we can talk about our feelings, they become less overwhelming, less upsetting, and less scary.” – Fred Rogers, children’s television host
Mr. Rogers—who passed away in 2003—has helped generations of children (and the adults those children became) deal with difficult situations and emotions. His television show, Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood, was a safe place for everyone—and the beloved host always had a message of acceptance. “You’ve made this day a special day, by just your being you,” he would say. “There’s no person in the whole world like you, and I like you just the way you are.”
Mr. Rogers knew that some people feel as though they must keep their mental health struggles to themselves. He also knew that talking about those issues is the first step toward feeling better.
We Are Here to Help You Improve Your Mental Health
The team at Johnstown Heights Behavioral Health in Colorado is wholly committed to your mental health. Whether you are dealing with one of the various types of depression, an anxiety or panic disorder, a disorder grounded in trauma, or something else, you can count on us to provide personalized treatment specific to your needs. We bring experience and expertise to the table as we deliver evidence-based care with empathy and respect.
If you have been putting off seeking help for a mental health issue because you are embarrassed or feel as though others will judge you, we urge you to put those feelings aside. Improving your mental health improves your quality of life in the same way that improving your physical health does. Don’t wait. We are ready to help you make and maintain improvements related to your mental health.