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This weekend, I had the opportunity to sit down with Maryland Psychiatrist, Dr. Theodore Osuala. Our conversation about mental health began with the stigma surrounding the topic.

Releasing the stigma.

For centuries, the conversation surrounding mental health science has been viewed as weak. It’s prohibited some from getting the help they need, fearing that addressing their mental health is frowned upon. According to Johns Hopkins, 26% of Americans 18+ suffer from diagnosable mental health disorders each year. “Many people suffer from more than one mental disorder at a given time. In particular, depressive illnesses tend to co-occur with substance abuse and anxiety disorders,” says Hopkins.
Numbers prove that the fight is more common than initially realized. We spoke with Dr. Osuala about the stigma. He was passionate about defeating it. “Most people think seeing a psychiatrist is such a bad thing,” says Osuala. “Especially culturally. Some people think if you see a psychiatrist you are a weak person. Even the strongest people, tough military guys, still get help.” He would know having served at Veterans Affairs hospital. We stray away from the conversation for all sorts of reasons. We’re fearful of how our pain will be accepted. “Often, people avoid or delay seeking treatment due to concerns about being treated differently or fears of losing their jobs and livelihood,” says Psyhiatry.org. The shame cripples our growth. “It’s time we forgot about the stigma,” Dr. Osuala shared during our interview. Just like other illnesses, it won’t be solved in a day. Those who aren’t familiar with the conversation should research. The ones who are familiar with it should educate.We can close the gap together and beat the stigma. Hear the full interview where we discuss mental health medication and more, here.

Help for Mental Illness from NIH

If you or someone you know has a mental illness, is struggling emotionally, or has concerns about their mental health, there are ways to get help. Use these resources to find help for you, a friend, or a family member.  

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