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Mental Health Awareness Month

Generally speaking, no one judges the cancer patient who opts to participate in clinical trials or on the other hand, the cancer patient who chooses to switch their treatment plan to palliative care only. A person with high blood pressure would likely not trial one medication, continue to have high blood pressure, and sigh, resolving themselves to continue having high blood pressure indefinitely.

Why is it then that the child who is on ADHD medications may be judged (or their parents be judged) because their child is on a stimulant. While there are stimulant and non-stimulant options for treatment, that is a decision made collaboratively with the family, the patient, and the prescriber based on symptoms the patient experiences.

Why is it common phrasing for people to say, “I’m so OCD,” or, “they’re so bipolar,” as if these are adjectives and not diagnoses?

Medications are a tool, therapy is a tool, coping skills are a tool, complementary and alternative treatments/therapies are a tool. Nothing is one size fits all. There are numerous classifications of medications as well as numerous modalities for delivering therapy (including individual, group, or family treatment). Not every medication or every therapy will work for every individual just because it is recommended. Not every person is willing to try medications or therapy as they may not be at a place in their journey where they feel they might benefit (or even feel they deserve to benefit), and that’s ok. What’s not ok is making others feel that their choice is wrong. Unless someone is doing something that is unsafe to themselves or poses significant danger to someone else, who are we to decide what they should or shouldn’t do?

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and I hope everyone knows that it’s ok to not be ok. It’s ok to have good days and bad days. A wise person once said that it’s ok to not be hopeful for the future, it’s enough to be curious about it.

National Suicide Hotline: 800-273-8255

Douglas County, WI 24-hour crisis Line: 715-395-2259

St. Louis County, MN Adult Mental Health Crisis Line 1-844-722-4724

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