I’m very proud of Jon for writing this piece. It wasn’t an easy process for him. But he stuck it out and trusted me.
I don’t know the folks from IHadCancer yet, but we’re planning on changing that. I’m proud of what they’re doing.
"Social" is an easy word to throw around these days. Olanoff wishes the Web didn’t take it so lightly. He’d prefer we talk about social good or social reform, rather than social media. “I don’t know what the phrase ‘social media’ means anymore,” he says. “I don’t think anybody does. I’ve always felt that what was missing [from that phrase] is the social part. The human aspect of it is severely lacking.”
For so long we couldn’t say ‘Cancer.’ We couldn’t say ‘HIV’ or ‘AIDS.’ We couldn’t say ‘Anorexic.’ Why?
Because all of these items are taboo and something that could never happen to us. We don’t smoke-never getting cancer. We don’t engage in high-risk sexual behavior- never getting HIV/AIDS. We have healthy body image- never will become anorexic.
What about a real disease, one that affects millions of people, by no choice, action, or gender? What about a disease that affects some purely based on chemistry or heredity? And one that we’re not treating. We have programs for HIV/AIDS, both treatment and education, for all segments of our population, including the ones who we, as a culture, formerly considered deviants of society, or those who cannot afford it. We have programs to teach middle-schoolers to value their self-worth and love their bodies to combat eating disorders. Cancer has become ubiquitous and has self-tests, professional screenings, and attainable (albeit expensive) treatments.
What about mental illness. Can we educate? Sure, but not in a preventative way. Can we treat it?
Sure, if you can get through to those affected and ensure their compliance with a treatment plan. Can we change and shift opinions of everyone in the country to accept those affected? Likely not.
So what have we done, as a society? We have institutionalized those affected by mental illness against their will, for 72 hour periods of time. We have patented medications that are the most effective- but are renewing their patents by changing an inactive molecule to keep the price unattainable for most. We have embraced the behavior as those suffering from a variety of mental illness, especially those in the spotlight of fame, as creative or eccentric. We watch as afflicted public figures struggle for control over their own “choices” against their family and loved ones. We cast aside those who are not glamorous and simply call them crazy. We step over the homeless in the streets as assume it is their choice to be addicted to substances, they ‘must’ be mumbling to themselves incessantly because of their overuse of illegal drugs, and continue on our way.
This needs to stop. The government has programs for the mentally-ill that are violent against others.
Why does this need to be the trigger? Why must someone be arrested to be treated? Or in other situations, we watch loved ones who desperately need help be kicked out of the system in mere days, generally to their detriment. In some states, we cannot even direct someone we love, whether a significant other, child, or adult parent to committed care unless we are directly married to them.
On a secondary note, how many of you have looked over your employee benefits or health care plans?
In some cases, the only mental care that is covered is inpatient treatment. Unless those affected are cognizant and clear-headed enough to admit themselves (and maintain the right to leave on their own will), simply going to a psychiatrist or therapist is generally speaking not covered by insurance. In some high cost of living states these appointments can be upwards of $300 per hour.
The call to action is this:
-Help for those who cannot rationally help themselves
-Help for those who have a treatment plan and cannot afford it.
-Understanding, as a society, that embracing the ‘crazy’ is not treatment
I don’t know, I think we can do it. Call me crazy.