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The National Institute of Mental Health

Mental Health > The National Institute of Mental Health

Many of can attest to this: the National Institute of Mental Health indirectly saves lives. The Institute save mentality, sanity, which saves physicality, life. It is a federally funded facility that does research to provide information to other national and to state and local mental health services nationwide, that these adjunct (or dependent) facilities can work to prevent, diagnose, and treat mental illness in people of all ages.

I’m telling you this because it is important to know that there is absolutely no shame in needing, contacting, using, and benefiting directly from mental health services and mental health service providers (free, sliding scale, and other)...and from, therefore, the far-reaching benefits of the National Institute of Mental Health.

Do not be daunted by the pamphlet or online descriptions of affiliated groups. Provided they are legitimate sources (and you can painlessly find out by checking the status), they are there for those of us who suffer from mental disorders—whether we know the diagnosis or whether we have yet to be diagnosed. So even though you might understandably feel concern when read some descriptive details, when you read what some mental health facilities might define in their offerings as intended for “persons with serious mental illnesses”, and though this might cause you to reflect back to when having a mental problem was unacceptable, untreatable without institutionalization, or unmanageable without heavy sedatives that made people even more unfit for social interaction than they were thought to be, press on.

That was then. Then, when such fine non-profit organizations as the National Institute of Mental Health didn’t have the guided direction or directives they have now. Then, when the negative stigma attached to mental health institutions (in the form of “mental” institutions) might have been earned, as drugs like Thorazine were forced on patients (who were forcibly institutionalized for any number of problems—addictive, behavioral, and other non-psychotic states); shock therapy was the knee-jerk response to tears and cries for help, and homesteads with difficult or troubled teens were heard to emit gross generalizations and threats.

“What are you, mental?” was a favorite in my household, and they didn’t mean I was mentally superior, was overusing my mental capaciousness, or was especially gifted—though with the services and treatments I have been blessed with over the last six years I would wager they did mean I was mentally beyond what they could comprehend.

Before my time, in other homes, housewives were compelled to wash down their problems with cocktails of pink and yellow pills and green martinis, rather than suffer the recriminatory scoffs. Before their time, and way before 1946—the National Institute of mental Health’s time, women who refused to be socially controlled by misogyny were not considered justified for their resistance measures, were not even given an opportunity for legitimate mental health services if they truly needed them, but were considered merely hysterical (thanks to Freud, who coined the word from the Latin word, hyster, womb) and tossed into looney bins.

But rest assured, the days of Francis Farmer and Susanna Kaysen (Girl, Interrupted) are behind us, and girl power and boy power are equalized and acknowledged, regardless of how deep our needs for mental health services—which are, by the way, available in online, listed in phone books under state services, and in counties and boroughs and townships worldwide. And they are saving lives, daily.

Mental Health > The National Institute of Mental Health