So many sit in silent pain, dealing with the voices in their heads or the constant drowning feeling they experience in darkness. A stigma has covered our society, painting mental illness into a form of absurdity and a danger zone for people discuss. As we move forward, the ability to openly discuss these issues must be adapted. Bring Change to Mind, a nonprofit organization set in Staten Island, NY, has dedicated themselves to making an influence on the demolition of the mental health stigma.
Education about mental illness is one of the first steps to encouraging people to embark on the journey to end the stigma, and BC2M understands this. They have a page on their website that solely touches base on some of the most common mental disorders, eleven to be exact. Being aware that mental illnesses vary on so many spectrums allows for people to recognize that there is not one solid form of treatment or way to handle situations, simply based off of the technical term that one has been deemed to have.
Bring Change to Mind’s ultimate purpose is to offer awareness to those who feel a bit misguided about mental illness, and to offer resources for care and treatment to those who are facing illness head on. A master list of hotlines can be found on their resource’s page, as well as guidelines to approaching a handful of situations and discussions about specific disorders. It’s difficult for those who are fearful of speaking about mental health to dive into the topic, and having tips and general ideas for conversations are key steps to normalizing the topic.
Besides being an easily accessible foundation to all, BC2M also hosts educational programs in high schools and college campuses, in order to work hands on with the population that is bound to make the biggest growing impact in defeating the stigma. These in school clubs work to create events that promote healthy mentality, as well as share information in regards to mental illness. They represent their mother organization, and have the sole purpose of eliminating the stigma of mental health and making it as comfortable to discuss as the weather.
Historically, the terms to describe those who have mental illnesses has ranged and adapted from incredibly insulting to sympathetic. In the times where people with mental health issues were called, “mad” and “crazy,” mental health was a taboo topic, only to be discussed in the comfort of a mental hospital or psychologist’s office. In modern times, we have adopted much more appropriate and less demeaning terms, simply saying that strugglers are “mentally handicapped” or have a “mental illness.” Although there are still terms specific to describe people dealing with illness, these terms do not define the people that they are attached to.
Bring Change to Mind is making strides in improving mental health awareness, and erasing the stigma and taboo associated with it. It is our responsibility, the general population, to make all feel included and supported. Break the stigma, and talk it out. You can find Bring Change to Mind on their main website, as well as on Twitter.