After accepting a psychiatric nurse resident position at The Menninger Clinic, everyone asked me this very question. And while those who inquired seemed eager to find out, I couldn’t help but notice the curious cynicism in which the question was asked. People seemed slightly surprised, a bit negative and kind of concerned, as if to say, “Why would you want to do that?”
Perhaps this speaks to the critical eye with which most of our culture views psychiatric illness. It is sad, unfortunate and undeserved. It has been my experience that stereotypes, labeling and judgments of all kinds often result from a lack of accurate information and even worse, false information. Healthcare, as a whole, has neglected to examine mental health to the degree that physical health has been attended to. The general public’s knowledge is lacking in the department of mental health, leaving most of society a bit nearsighted, if you will. I’ll almost guarantee you that the person next to you at the post office is blind to the fact that suicide ranks third among the leading causes of death for adolescents and young adults.
It is my hope that society will one day stand with its vision corrected and bring mental healthcare to the forefront in full focus. Until then, I am grateful to work for an organization whose daily mission is to be a world leader in psychiatric care, research and education. We are working together to magnify the need for and importance of psychiatric and mental healthcare.
Through which lens do you view mental healthcare? Is it one of distorted scrutiny? Or, is it one of clear precision? Are your lenses in need of adjustment? Perhaps it’s time to put on your glasses.