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September is National Recovery Month. When people hear the term schizophrenia, we often think the worst. Our media, as a rule, reports the untreated and out-of-control cases because let’s face it – sensationalism sells.
I’d love to see an article every day across the nation which highlights a recovery story.
But what does it take to recover?
A lot of hard work. Treatment plans tailored to the individual, communication between all parties involved, early intervention, support for re-education for the individual and education, if possible, for their family. When you understand why your loved acts the way they do, it’s easier to cope and support them.
How do we accomplish this mammoth task?
We educate ourselves first. We learn what mental illness means. We learn the actions are symptoms of an illness, just as a sore throat is a symptom of a virus. We learn the purpose of medication and why for some individuals, it is vital. We must remember: it’s a biological illness, not a character flaw. No one wants to suffer from mental illness. No one asks for this.
It’s a tough situation because often times the individual doesn’t believe they need help. Or they are afraid to ask for help for fear of the label of crazy.
I think it’s important to remember a vital thing we don’t hear much about –
Individuals CAN enter a recovery phase from schizophrenia and return as a productive member of our society. I know. I’ve witnessed it. I’ve lived it with my child.
But, we have a lot of hard work to do as a society.
We need to have the support services available everywhere.
We need to encourage students to special in psychiatry, counseling, therapy and increase the number of medical professionals to match the need. People now wait months for an appointment or an open bed.
We need crisis teams, trained to assist with volatile situations, across the nation.
Families don’t know what to do. And way too many of our ill brothers and sisters are housed in the prison system. They need compassion and they need support and most of all, they need to regain their health.
More wages are lost to mental illness than cancer, heart or lung disease combined.
Let’s work together. Let’s change the mindset of our culture. Let’s live with compassion. Let’s help the mentally ill to regain their dignity.