Stomping Out the Stigma of Mental Illness

By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy

Here’s an idea to help you more fully cope with stress. Reading time: 2:36

    The pressure is on.  Stress slaps you like a brick in the stomach. Depression digs its fangs so deep into your body you can hardly get out of bed.

    mental health1   At least that’s how troubled he felt struggling with  his “melancholy,” his life-long bout with depression.

      When he was 29,  he was so depressed his friends took away his razor and kept him in a locked room to keep him from hurting himself.

       Yet 22 years later Abraham Lincoln became one of the most revered presidents in the history of the United States during one of the  nation’s most stressed times.

   A Treatable Disease

       Mental illness can affect anyone –from Abraham Lincoln to other leaders such as : Ludwig von Beethoven, Vincent Van Gogh, Isaac Newton, Winston Churchill, Michelangelo, Patty Duke, Art Buchwald, Dick Cavette, Rod Steiger, Mike Wallace and Billie Joel among so many others.  They know from personal experience that mental illness is treatable just like any other illness such as heart disease or diabetes.

                 In fact, in the Surgeon General’s first report ever  on mental illness issued in 1999, Dr. David Satcher noted:  “…just as things go wrong with the heart, the lung, the kidneys and the liver, things will go wrong with the brain. And seeking help should carry no shame.”

                 That’s why the most effective leaders seek to stomp out the stigma of mental illness.

     mental health stigma         After all “the overwhelming majority of the people with mental illness can be effectively treated and can  return to productive lives  and positive relationships,”according the former Surgeon General.

      A Beautiful Mind

       Former First Lady Rosalyn Carter echoes that sentiment in her book Helping Someone With Mental Illness : “The majority of people with mental illness are capable of leading normal lives – of living at home, going to school, working, being productive tax-paying citizens.”

     There is plenty of productive thinking ability in a diseased brain. Recall the movie: A Beautiful Mind staring Russell Crowe as John Nash whose struggle with schizophrenia yet still won the Nobel Prize in Economics.

   mental health4 Indeed, the human brain –that three pound ball of jelly — is so magnificent, so intricate, so complex that if you could stretch the fibers in your brain end to end they would wrap around the earth 40 times, according to Neil McAleer in his book The Body Almanac.

    Long enough to stretch but never snap. Just like a well-conditioned leader.

 Today’s ImproveMINT

Take care of your mental health to keep your leadership thinking in mint condition.

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