Getting Past The Stigma Associated With Mental Illness – CBS Baltimore

BALTIMORE (WJZ) – Mental health affects all of us, but it’s often difficult to talk about.

College sophomore Rachel Lee has struggled with her mental health. In high school, she was hospitalized three times. But the hardest thing for her was feeling like she had something to hide.

“I’m not crazy,” Lee said. “I am just like anyone else out there. I am fighting. I’m fighting my own way. But that doesn’t make me any less worthy or human.”

May is Mental Health Awareness Month.

Clarissa Taylor-Jackson of the National Alliance on Mental Illness in Baltimore. She said the negative stigma associated with mental health stems from our society’s desire for everything to be perfect.

“Whether you are diagnosed with mental illness or not, you are affected by mental health. Each of us has experienced anxiety or depression at some point during this pandemic,” she said. “It’s important for all of us to pay more attention to our own mental health and well-being.”

Taylor-Jackson’s brother, Damian, was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder 1 two years ago, and she wishes her family had known about it sooner.

“If our parents were more open, our schools more open, and our society more open, maybe he would get a lot of help,” she said.

Fighting stigma begins with an open, honest conversation. Lee volunteers with NAMI’s “End the Silence” program and talks to teens about their mental health.

“I may not be able to 100% understand what you are going through, but I care about you,” she said. “I care how you are doing. Let me know how I can be here for you. ”

She says empathize with each other, show compassion, and know that it’s not always okay.

If you want to learn more about NAMI Metropolitan Baltimore or need help, visit the group’s website.

Special Coverage: Mental Health Awareness Exchange Getting Past The Stigma Associated With Mental Illness – CBS Baltimore

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