Why Isn’t Mental Illness Treated Like Other Health Issues?: A guest blog by Maia Akiva
I have read many heartfelt, emotional posts the past few days about the passing of Robin William from a possible suicide. It’s a horrible loss of a great entertainer and person. The first thing that came to me when I heard about it – was to my surprise huge gratitude for all the healing and deep work I have done that brought me to a place where I am learning to live next to my darkness and have a much more healthy relationship with it, than the days of complete darkness and thoughts of suicide. If you know me you may have heard me talk about this before: the thing that makes me the most upset about this (for all of us) is how, I believe, that as a western society with very clear rules, structure and a support system we don’t treat addiction, depression and emotional disability as a problem like we treat physical illness. It’s hard to ask for a meditation break at work but very easy to get a smoking one. It’s hard to go to a 12 step meeting once a week on work time but easy to go to a Dr. appointment. It’s hard to get sick days to go to an emotional retreat to heal your heart but easy to get sick days to heal your foot. Of course there are exceptions of people and companies who respect and understand all of this. But not a lot. I hope, and am going to do my best to continue to share my voice about treating emotional problems like physical ones. Both are human being problems that affects a life and both need to be supported equally by all of us.