You are here

Mental health issues need to be dealt with

It's all in your head.
Why don't you just get over it?
You just need to get out more.
Just be happy, it's not hard.

For anyone suffering from mental health disorders statments like these are all too familiar. Many people think that depression, anxiety or phobia is merely a matter of willpower; something that can be overcome if the person just makes an effort. This is not only false, but a dangerous misconception about the actual cause of mental health disorders. 

May is Mental Health month. A time for raising awareness about the causes, effects and available treatments for mental health disorders.

Suffering from a mental health issue is no more cause for shame than suffering from the flu, and yet it is often looked down on as a sign of weakness.

Brenda Ototivo, executive director of the Jim Taliaferro Community Mental Health Center, said she wants the public to understand that mental illness is a treatable disease, just like diabetes or high blood pressure.

"When a person with diabetes treats their disease with insulin it becomes no one thinks twice," Ototivo said. "Whenever someone with a mental health diagnosis does the same thing it can be looked down upon. We are working to get friends, family, society, other medical professionals and law enforcement to recognize that this is a disease and, with treatment, people can live with it.

And, like other diseases, mental health issues can affect anyone regardless of race, religion or socioeconomic status.

"Being the local community health center we service everybody, it doesn't matter as far as income or things like that. We have adult and child outpatient services as well as inpatient stabilization treatment. Being a military town we see a spectrum of disorders such as depression, anxiety and PTSD along with some more major illnesses such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. We serve approximately 3,000 people from the area on an outpatient basis. It doesn't matter who you are, if you come to us, you will get help."

There are many myths surrounding mental health disorders, one of the largest, and most dangerous according to Ototivo, is the "don't talk about it," myth.

The Lawton Constitution

102 SW 3rd, Lawton, OK
Classifieds: (580) 357-9545
Circulation: (580) 353-6397
Switchboard: (580) 353-0620