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Letter: Time to end stigma of mental illness

Mental health is a topic that is approached with trepidation by many due to a long standing stigma associated with mental health issues. There has been a lot of focus on health and ways to be healthy as of late spread throughout the media, and yet the topic of mental health can still provoke a "disconnect" or denial response in many. I have yet to meet one single human being who hasn't had a day in their lives where their mental health was not quite up to par. As with a physical illness, mental illness has a range of symptoms.

There is not an "off/on" switch, but a range of symptoms from mild to severe. Usually, mental health concerns tend to be denied or ignored until things get too severe to ignore. As we know...physical illness left untreated for too long results in the need for more intensive treatment to fix the condition. Unfortunately, the same is true for mental health issues. If addressed early on, mental health treatment may be of less intensity and of shorter duration. If left too long untreated, mental health issues can permeate many parts of a person's life and take much more time to repair or redirect.

One main focal point for my work at Mental Health Consumer Survivor Network is to help address the issues of stigma and discrimination preventing people from seeking supportive services. I am providing education, resource referral, and addressing political challenges.

If you are a survivor of mental health issues, take heart, take pride in your strengths and courage, and take action. Find out more about how you can become involved in your mental heath journey, and help others in theirs.

A wonderful web site with a wealth of information covering mental health (adult and children), substance abuse, grants, training, scholarships and much more, go to the site named SAMHSA.

For more on Mental Health Consumer Survivor Network of Minnesota, please go to:, or call Pam at (218) 333-0939 for more information. -- Pamela Bezotte, Bemidji