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Raising Awareness for Mental Health



In the U.S., the month of May is (or was, depending on when your newspaper publishes this column) "Mental Health Awareness Month." Even after all these years of awareness having been raised since the first awareness month in 1949, many Americans still don't regard a disabling mental health disorder as a "real" disability. It's time to end this outdated way of thinking.

According to a U.S. Department of Labor website, the federal government has many different definitions for "disability." For Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) purposes, the government defines disability as a person who "has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, has a record of such an impairment, or is regarded as having such an impairment." Regarding Social Security disability benefits, the federal government has determined that a potential recipient "must have a severe disability (or combination of disabilities) that has lasted, or is expected to last, at least 12 months or result in death, and which prevents working at a 'substantial gainful activity' level."

Both these and most other definitions regarding disability make room for a person (but not every person) who has a mental health diagnosis, especially ones like bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, borderline personality disorder, severe and recurrent major depressive disorder, or post-traumatic stress disorder.

I'm a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (i.e., a mental health professional). Out in public, I sometimes hear people with disabling mental health diagnoses being referred to as nut jobs, wackos or as having screws loose. I also occasionally see people using an index finger to make circles around an ear while referring to an individual they deem "crazy."

I could be wrong here, but I think a good many Americans believe people with a disabling mental issue somehow have complete control over their mental state and could quickly get over it if they would only listen to the logic friends suggested. I can't think of anything more ridiculous. Improvement can occur, but often only in baby steps and seldom completely.

As a therapist, I have yet to meet a client who just loves having a disabling mental illness. Nearly all hate the battle, the daily struggles, the unpleasant fallout. They dream of having a "normal" life, including being able to work or be married. If personally able to conquer their inner struggles today, every single one of them would do it. Without question.


Sponsored by Blue Valley Sod.

Daniel J. Vance is a licensed professional counselor and national certified counselor from Vernon Center, Minn. His weekly newspaper column Disabilities has been published in more than 260 newspapers.

Daniel J. Vance may be reached at www.danieljvance.com



Placer County News Headlines

Chicago the TRIBUTE to play Opera House Saloon in Roseville(ROSEVILLE, CA) - Chicago the TRIBUTE, a 9-piece tribute to the band with the horns and hits will be playing the Opera House Saloon Roseville on Thursday, March 30

Roseville Criminal Activity Heats UpRoseville, CA- As the weather heats up, so does Roseville criminal activity. The Roseville police log digest update for the ten-day period covering March 10-20, 2017.

Free STD and STI Testing and Treatment in Roseville(Roseville, CA) - Sierra Pregnancy & Health (SPH) announced they have begun offering free testing and treatment for STD/STIs, including gonorrhea and chlamydia

Placer County Government Center ProposalAUBURN, Calif. -- After considerable analysis, stakeholder engagement, design and planning, the Placer County Board of Supervisors were presented a plan for a re-envisioned Placer County Government

Ghost in the Shell coming to IMAXGhost in the Shell: An IMAX 3D Experience opens at the Esquire IMAX Theatre on March 30 at 7:00 p.m

Auburn Art Walk begins April 7The Auburn Art Walk will take place on the first Friday of April, June, August and October 2017, from 6 pm to 9 pm

Achieve Tahoe to Host Ability Challenge Fundraiser at Squaw ValleyAlpine Meadows, CA - Achieve Tahoe, a leading provider of winter and summer adaptive sports instruction at all ability levels for adults and children with disabilities

Guys and Dolls at William Jessup University in AprilROCKLIN, CA. - William Jessup University's Creative Arts department presents Guys and Dolls for six weekend performances, starting April 7-8-9.

Prenatal Health Services to begin at Auburn Health CenterAUBURN, CA - Chapa-De Indian Health is proud to announce that its Auburn Health Center will begin providing prenatal health services to patients starting this week.

Roseville Skatetown to Host Curling BonspielRoseville, CA -Brand New Barrel Bonspiel Brings 16 California Curling Teams to Roseville on March 24-26.

Placer Valley Tourism to operate Placer County FairgroundsAUBURN, Calif. -- The Placer County Board of Supervisors today approved Placer Valley Tourism, a private nonprofit organization, as the new operator of the Placer County Fairgrounds

Roseville Gas Price Competition StiffensRoseville, CA - Competition has stiffened as Roseville gas prices were mostly flat during this past week.


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