mental illnesses

Special Needs

Ableism is discrimination and social prejudice against people with disabilities or who are perceived to have disabilities. Ableism characterizes persons as defined by their disabilities and as inferior to the non-disabled. ~ Wikipedia

I made the mistake of reading comments on an Instagram post in favor of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. They were mostly positive. But, there was one naysayer who stood out for his initial lack of vitriol. He was just mildly snarky. But, it was like he had committed some heinous sin, instead of posting a disagreement rooted in ignorance.

He was immediately under attack. Mostly the responses remained as snarky comebacks. However, one of them made me cringe.

It sounds like your boss is good at hiring people with special needs.

I couldn’t scroll past without addressing it.

Back in the day, the insult used was, “retard,” frequently accompanied by a physically mocking action. Much like 45’s mocking actions regarding a reporter who experiences a physical disability.

Another one is, “riding the short bus.”

However you frame it, it’s showing a prejudice toward people with disabilities, especially intellectual ones.

How about how mental health challenges are referred to?

What are you, crazy?

Man, that was INSANE!

She’s so bipolar.

That one’s not right in the head.

Or the fact that so many movies and TV shows portray mental health patients as dangerous killers and all the shootings being reported as someone with mental illness, before an evaluation can be done?

The stigma and prejudices against people with physical, developmental, and mental disabilities is real and insidious. Just as we need to recognize, call out, and address racism, in all its forms, sexism, genderism, and sizism, we need to call out ableism.

It isn’t about political correctness, it’s about human rights.

For more on my perspective on ableism, go here.

The Gathering on Mental Health and the Church

You are invited to The Gathering on Mental Health and the Church, a one-day event designed to encourage individuals living with mental illness, educate family members, and equip church leaders to provide effective and compassionate care to any faced with the challenges of mental illness.

I found out about this event a couple of days ago and the thought of it both excites and scares me. It scares me because I have had very counterproductive conversations with people of faith over the years regarding the depression I have experienced throughout my life. Even people who have been healed of depression through their faith, perhaps even especialy them, have spoken to me in ways which were more hurtful than helpful, at least to the way my brain and perceptions were at the time. It excites me because it gives me hope that mental illnesses and disorders are being lifted up and examined within the context of faith and this is a huge opportunity for people of faith, professionals and laity alike, to educate themselves, examine how the way things have been done do more harm than good, and begin exploring new ways of relating and reaching out to people experiencing mental health issues.

This is a very important conversation. If you live in the Orange County, California area and can take Friday, March 28th off to spend the day attending this, low-cost event, please consider doing so. If you don’t have the $20, the website states scholarships are available. If you cannot physically attend, they will be live streaming the event. Even if you can only attend or view part of the event, I have a feeling it will be worth your time.

Find out more information at http://mentalhealthandthechurch.com/

Blog For Mental Health 2014