As we enter 2013, the acute pain of the Sandy Hook massacre is beginning to recede. While some people yearn to move on, others vow never to forget. As part of the healing process, I suggest we do both. Action aimed at creating something meaningful can go a long way toward recovery.
We should start referring friends to good therapists, unashamedly, the way we would refer them to a good dentist. For now, I thank my own, and hope that others find their own path to wellness, no matter what anyone else says.
While 21st century approaches to public health have increasingly focused on healthy living with diet, exercise, smoking cessation, and access to preventive health care, there is a growing evidence base to incorporate mental health into our nation's public health agenda.
Changing the conversation about mental health means making care for mental health as matter of fact as going to get treatment for asthma or a broken leg. What good sense that makes. But even those of us who aren't currently suffering from mental health problems stand to gain.
Mental health illnesses should be treated no differently than any physical illness in the body. The days of stigmatizing mental illness, of turning our backs on those who need our help, of walking away from this problem, are over.
Still stigmatized in our culture, mental health care is so tightly controlled by insurers that great numbers of people are denied treatment by corporate gatekeepers who, using the vague but official-sounding term "medical necessity," deem it not worthy of payment.