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We Need To Get Beyond The Stigma

On a recent Sunday, I gave a sermon entitled “Created with a Purpose.” I reminded everyone that they were created by the Creator for a positive purpose and ended by sharing some thoughts about depression and suicide. Little did I know what the following days had in store.

It started with an evening call from a long-time family friend. Their child had been admitted to a psychiatric facility after talking about a desire to commit suicide. The next day a dear friend reached out asking for prayer as they were tired and battling depression. Both situations served as vivid reminders of the importance of our mental health.

A mental illness is defined as a condition that affects a person’s thinking, feeling, or mood. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, one in five adults experiences a mental health condition every year.

When identified, most mental illnesses are treatable. What’s shocking to me is how taboo the subject of mental illness is, especially in the African-American community. For some strange reason, seeing a therapist or taking medication to improve your mental health is viewed by many as unthinkable.

Former Chicago Bears wide receiver Brandon Marshall suffered with bi-polar behavior for many years. After seeking treatment, his life changed completely. He became an outspoken advocate and donated $1 million dollars to mental illness awareness.

We need to work together to remove the stigma around mental illness. No matter what illness someone may struggle with, they are not damaged goods. On the contrary, they are beautifully and wonderfully made with a purpose. 

I’m Joe Mitchell, and this is my perspective.

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