Replacing "Mental" with "Physical" to Replace "I" with "We" In Illness
Changing the Conversation to Shift Perceptions About Mental Illness
Healing Not Possible Without Access to Needed Treatment
Our vision is to one up the conversation about mental illness. We are on a mission to shift the perceptions using disruptive marketing strategies to:
create a paradigm shift so mental illness is viewed for what it is — a physical illness
replace "i" in illness with "we" in order to move people from mental illness to mental wellness
While we believe healing starts with hope, we do not believe it ends there. The path to mental wellness must be paved with access to needed mental health treatment. For far too many we advocate for, we find roadblocks and red tape block their path and prevent their healing.
Numbers Do Not Lie: Shedding Light on Funding Disparity
Quality of life, healthcare and economic cost implications aside, the National Institute of Health (NIH) estimates spending only $74 million on the treatment for bipolar disorder in 2018, equivalent to spending $13 per person impacted by this deadly disease. (Keep in mind, the treatment of bipolar disorder is not only challenging but among the most costly of all mental health conditions, costing the U.S. healthcare system an estimated $30 billion in direct expenditures and $120 billion in indirect costs annually).
Why is there such a disparity when you look at physical illnesses the NIH is allocating the same amount of treatment funding to, e.g., cystic fibrosis, sickle cell disease, lupus, multiple scerosis? No one asks for these physical diseases, but no one asks for bipolar disorder either. It is 70% genetic and 30% environmental. Why should those with bipolar disorder be treated differently for something they were born with or their upbringing contributed to and brought to the surface?
We believe the huge funding disparity is due to the fact that mental illness is not viewed as a physical illness when there is now ample evidence it clearly is one. Researchers have made great strides mapping out the bipolar brain using MRIs and neuro imaging techniques demonstrating clear and consistent alterations in key brain regions. Bipolar disorder is a brain disease, a chemical imbalance.
Science Does Not Lie: Mental Illness is Physical Illness
No one in their right mind would ask for it much like no one would ask for diseases in any other part of the body.
Why should it receive so little funding when it profoundly affects and kills so many?
Why would someone want a disease that requires you to have to convince your brain to fight off suicidal thoughts all of the time? To fight so hard just to stay alive?
To fight to keep friends and family from not abandoning you when your depressive or manic behavior drive them away? To fight to convince people to care for you so you're not left all alone?
A Call for Ending Stigma and Funding Parity
We must break down the wall of stigma, so that those fighting to hold on can step out from behind the wall of silence we have imposed on them and seek the treatment they need to heal without feeling any shame. We also need to adequately fund this treatment so it is there for them when they do reach out. To do so, there must be a fundamental paradigm shift in this country in the way mental illness is viewed in order for funding priorities to change.
We simply must end stigma, and to do, so we must view mental illness for what it is — a physical illness. There must be a loud and clear call for funding parity. When people struggling reach out for help, this country must be adequately equipped to answer each and every call for help. Today, we simply are not. People are calling our national suicide hotline and being put on hold. Can you imagine? Is this acceptable?
We are letting those in the bipolar community down; and, those who have any mental illness down. Only one in four who have a mental illness are reaching out for help, and yet we scratch our heads and wonder why suicide rates are at a 30-year high.
Just A Few Examples of Bipolar Community Being Let Down
At Hope Xchange, we're in the trenches and we see first hand how those in desperate need are being let down each and every day. Here are just but a few examples from our blogs that illustrate exactly this:
Over 44,000 Americans die by suicide every year. Every 41 seconds in this country a precious soul leaves us and every 42 seconds someone is left wondering why. How many more lives do we have to lose until something is done? How many more parents most suffer unimaginable grief?
Up to 50% of these suicides may be associated with bipolar disorder. How much longer do we have to wait until the funding disparity is addressed? Until the reality sets in that suicide rates are just going to continue to climb until something is done?
We must respond with urgency and compassion. And, we must respond today. If not now, when?
If our suicide prevention and mental wellness programs align with your corporation's giving back and employee matching programs, please consider joining forces and becoming a Hope Xchange Corporate Sponsor. Email email@example.com to discuss the benefits associated with our sponsorship options and which may be the best fit for your organization.