We are nearing the end of a significant observation during the month of May. Mental Health Awareness Month was designated to bring light to the challenges faced by individuals living with brain illnesses, and the community supports that are available for them and their families. This year's focus is entitled Risky Business to highlight the behaviors that can compromise one's health and overall sense of wellbeing. In response to these risks, Mental Health America and NAMI Faithnet (The National Alliance on Mental Illness) have created a behavioral strategy for combatting these risks.
In addition to the risks that are mentioned, we'd like to explore an additional risk: When we discuss persons living with mental health challenges, it's easy to fall into language that stigmatizes rather than supports. WORDS CAN and DO HURT! Trinity English is hoping to provide an ongoing safe setting where such risks can be addressed in a variety of ways. Perhaps we can begin by examining the language we use.
It requires discipline to change our language. Let's think of it as mental exercise! By using intentional language we rethink how one's personhood is primary and a diagnosis or health condition is much farther down the list. Let's do more than just exercise our mindfulness muscle. Let's tone it by listening mindfully, as well. When we hear stigmatizing language, let's identify it and replace it with language that reflects far more than tolerance. Let us love one another - beginning with our words, and see the individual, name the person, as a beloved child of God, first and always.
Want to explore how to fight the stigma of brain illness? Let's continue the conversation together.
JaneT JoRdan Altmeyer
Building a foundation of supportive relationships in The City of Churches, moving forward as a community bolstered by faith, driven by purpose, inspired by Christ's love.