What's Your 'Best Excuse' For Avoiding Mental Health Treatment?

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If you are affected by mental illness, The Mighty wants to hear your response to this question: What’s one excuse you made before you sought treatment for your mental health? Send us your video response, and it might be used in a video for The Mighty! Here’s our last video, and a summary of our video tips for filming your response:

  • When using a cellphone, hold it horizontally with two hands if you can. Don’t hold it vertically.

Hand Position

  • If using a video camera, be sure it is on a tripod or held by another person.
  • Try to answer the question in 5 – 15 seconds.
  • Use plenty of natural light. If inside, have your face towards the window. You don’t want the sun or a window behind you — it creates a silhouette and we won’t be able to see you.

StandingPosition

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  • Record in a quiet place.
  • Speak clearly & concisely. Be sure your hand is not over the microphone. Play through the video before submitting to make sure you can hear yourself.

Please submit your video to video@themighty.com by January 18th. Please note: Every clip cannot be included in what is published. However, every response will be used internally, to help make our approach to mental health coverage as informed & supportive as it can be.

Related: ‘One Thing I Want Someone With a Mental Illness to Know Is…’

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'One Thing I Want Someone With a Mental Illness to Know Is...'

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The Mighty teamed up with Bring Change 2 Mind and asked the question, “What’s one thing you want someone with a mental illness who’s going through a hard time to know?”

Their responses were fantastic. If you live with a mental illness, here’s what our communities want you to know:

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The One Word I’m Replacing ‘Resolutions’ With This New Year

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The New Year has only just begun, and I have already witnessed people’s determination to “do right” by their resolutions for 2016 — gym memberships are skyrocketing and it has never been so crowded, restaurant goers are waiving dessert and choosing salad over steak, parents stating they will show more patience toward their toddlers, couples vowing to spend more time together rather than staying late at work, friends working to be there for each other regardless of distance, and people posting on social media that in order to be more present in their lives they will be unplugging more frequently.

Everyone is putting forth effort to make positive changes by doing things they believe will enhance their lives. They are reminded to do this once a year. I have to do this every day.  

The so-called “New Year’s resolution” is not an annual extravagant goal for me but a regular occurrence in my life. There is little fanfare that goes with it, and often as I master one item I have resolved to complete, I add another to the list. My life is hard, unfair and cruel, sometimes more than what others might experience. There are so many “big” things to work on when you have multiple intertwined mental health issues. My goals and resolutions may be similar to the ones other people make each year, but more often than not they are specific to the daily challenges I face and the way I see myself. For me, there is always another hurdle, another mountain to climb, another unmarked road to travel, and it is my resolve that continues to get me through in one piece.

Through all my grit, determination, and resilience, there is one thing that I have always struggled to do — really allow myself to see how far I have come. 2015 has probably been my most stable and healthiest year, and yet as midnight hit, all I could think of was how I needed to do more to be better, better than myself. So I’m turning the “New Year’s resolution” on its head. These are my “New Year’s reflections.”

I completed a graduated program, had a job created for me, didn’t stay overnight in a hospital, had 365 days of 100 percent medication compliance, have begun to love all of who I am, have gone geographically and socially outside my comfort zone, have climbed out of the darkest of places in my head, brought myself down from the highest highs and so much more.

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Sometimes it can be hard for me to feel proud of these things that for me have been such a struggle to achieve but for others are just part of the daily grind. My path has not been straight nor has it been what I have expected. This year I realize that any further navigation will depend on my ability to look back at the path behind me. The detours haven’t stopped me, and I am sure there will be more. Most of the accomplishments I mentioned are things that a year or two ago I never imagined I could ever achieve. They were so “big” I couldn’t even picture them; the images just wouldn’t come. 

I would be naïve to believe my good year means I can stop doing the work. But it remains true that I can’t resolve to do anything to better my life without reflecting back on what I have accomplished. I am so immensely hard on myself. And I have come a long, long way.

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Ariel outdoors with the ocean in the background
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Hillary Clinton Responds to Mom’s Concern Over Son’s Mental Illness Treatment

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In a town hall in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, last Tuesday, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton discussed mental health stigma and treatment. Her comments were a response to a mother’s question about a challenge familiar to many in the mental health community — fighting insurance companies for adequate mental health care.

“I am the mother of a 16-year-old boy who is smart and beautiful, but he also really struggles with mental illness,” the mother said. “He’s currently in an inpatient program.”

Despite having what she calls “great health insurance,” the mother told Clinton how she has to fight her insurance company over every hospital admission and every bit of treatment, despite being doctor-recommended.

“The heath insurance company constantly tried to whittle it down and only provide the minimum amount,” she said.  “As a parent with a sick child I only have so much energy to fight this fight, and something just really needs to be done.”

Clinton responded with a few questions.

“How many of you know someone with mental health problems?” she asked her audience. “How many of you know how difficult it is to get the medical care you need to help someone with mental health problems?”

Although the U.S. government has passed parity laws — which state insurance providers must treat physical health and mental health equally — some families have found them poorly enforced. According to a report from the National Alliance on Mental Illness last April, patients seeking mental health services from private insurers were denied coverage at twice the rate as those seeking medical services, on the basis that the mental health treatment wasn’t “medically necessary.”

Clinton said reducing mental health stigma goes hand-in-hand with enforcing parity laws.

“I’m going to work with the mental health community which has laid out an agenda about how we get this right once and for all, because it’s not fair,” she said. “It’s not fair to the person suffering, and it’s certainly not fair to the families who are trying to cope with that suffering and get the medical care that’s needed.”

You can watch the entire town hall below. Clinton starts talking mental health at 20:10.

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To the Person Reviewing My Resume, From an Applicant With a Mental Illness

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I am writing to you to inform you of my desire to work for your company. Let’s get one thing out of the way first: I have a mental illness. Why do I think you should hire someone with a mental illness? You say you like people who can think outside the box and that is a strength you are looking for. Well, those of us with a mental illness can easily and quite naturally think outside the box. In fact, some of us have even experienced different realities and may be able to put a twist or a spin on that problem you are having that you never even imagined.

You mention that you value creativity. Most people with a mental illness are creative in one form or another. It hasn’t been proven yet, but there have been several studies trying to link creativity and mental illness. So far, the results appear to be in our favor.

You claim to value teamwork. We are masters at working on a team! We have a psychiatrist that we work with, a therapist that we work with, a general practitioner, group leaders, family and anyone else who is concerned about our care. We work on a team considering the most intimate details of our lives. I am certain we can handle working on a team in a corporate environment where our lives are not at stake.

You wanted me to address my strengths and weaknesses. For those of us with a mental illness, that is the same thing. Our strength is that we battle a mental illness every day. Our weakness is that we battle a mental illness every day. It is really the same thing. Consider it for a moment, and you will see this is an example of us thinking outside the box or using our creativity. What forces us to be strong also makes us weak.

You advertised that you want someone who is detail-oriented. Those of us with a mental illness have trained ourselves to notice details. We pay attention to our environment for triggers that will set off our anxiety or paranoia. We pay attention to our sleeping patterns. We make notes about our moods and our medications. We share most of these details with a team (back to our strength as team players).

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I know you didn’t mention this in your ad, but I know it is of great concern to issues of morale — people with a mental illness won’t add negativity to the work environment. We will be so concerned about people judging us, underestimating us and seeing everything we do through the lens of mental illness that we won’t have the time, courage or energy to gossip, complain or bad-mouth any of our coworkers, bosses or policies.

You wanted me to mention my experience in regards to the position you are hiring for, but I know the fact that I have a mental illness is the biggest obstacle you have to overcome before you hire me. If you can do that, I’ll tell you about my previous experience in the interview. I have actually had some great jobs.

Follow this journey on A Journey With You.

The Mighty is asking the following: Write a letter to anyone you wish had a better understanding of your experience with disability and/or disease. If you’d like to participate, please send a blog post to community@themighty.com. Please include a photo for the piece, a photo of yourself and 1-2 sentence bio. Check out our Share Your Story page for more about our submission guidelines.

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The 3 Words I’d Tell My 15-Year-Old Self to Say

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Dear Joe,

Amazing as this might seem, I’m you, from the future. Now once we get over the shock of the concept, let me tell you why I’m writing to you today. This Christmas Eve you decided to make a pretty drastic decision, and the aftermath is still happening as I write this to you.

Honestly, Joe, your life so far has, how can I put this… sucked. You’ve been in love, married, separated, been in love again, lost loved ones and lost personal processions, but there is one thing you haven’t lost through the years and the setbacks: You still have yourself. “Yourself” is one thing that no one, and I mean no one, can take away from you.

It was around your age now that things started not to seem right. You felt like you were different from other people in your school. You might keep your feelings to yourself, but I know you’ve been having thoughts about hurting yourself. I know you don’t want to tell anyone about these thoughts because you’re afraid of what will happen. I’m telling you today: Don’t be afraid. There are people out there that want to help you and will offer to help you.

All you have to do is say, “I need help.”

I know it’s hard to accept help at your age. Our family did not accept mental illness, these topics would never be discussed among your grandparents and you would never want to tell this to your mother. You have to. You have to put aside the fears of how “family” will react and take care of yourself. You are the one that matters the most — not your mom, not your grandparents. You need to worry about you.

I don’t want you to think that everything in the next 19 years of your life is entirely bad. You became the first in your family to graduate from high school and the first in your family to enter college. You were once able to put aside your fears to attend and pass classes to become an emergency medical technician (so what if it took three tries?).

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The final thing I want to impress upon you is that even though you have had setbacks in life (I’m writing this now from the psych ward of a hospital), you still have dreams. You’re going back to school! I know at 15 you’re not even thinking of this right now, but you will accomplish your dreams, a little at a time.

Good luck! I’m here for you!

The Mighty is asking the following: Give advice to someone who has just been diagnosed with your mental illness. What do you wish someone had told you? If you’d like to participate, please send a blog post to mentalhealth@themighty.com. Please include a photo for the piece, a photo of yourself and 1-2 sentence bio. Check out our Share Your Story page for more about our submission guidelines.

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