Stop Cussing at Me

My thoughts and prayers are with those impacted by the tragedies of Fort Hood.

The media has been quick to sensationalize the recent Fort Hood attack. Trying to make sense of the acts, what went on in the mind of the attacker? What would make a person do such a thing? Quickly a label is given, “he was being seen for PTSD.” We rationalize and label, to distance ourselves from the possibility that it could happen to us. The use of medical terminology has become a derogatory terms.

By labeling issues around mental health, we perpetuate the fear and stigma that surrounds such issues. Thereby, making it in effect harder for those that suffer to seek help. We have turned to medical terms and conditions such as: PTSD, depression, and anxiety in to four letter words. These are not subjects that many are comfortable being associated with, because many are afraid they will be likened to those that have done the unthinkable.

In the 80’s and early 90’s HIV/AIDS had a similar connotation as do subjects concerning mental health. There was a stigma associated, but through educating and awareness the stigma has been reduced. My hope is that some day mental health related issues will not be  a topic that is avoided, but is openly discussed; creating opportunities for education and awareness. Maybe that is where the prevention of such formidable acts lay.

I challenge you, and the media as well, to stop concluding that tragedies are due to a label. Labels can be identifiers, but they can also hurt those that they are trying to protect. Let’s have the conversation!

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2 Responses to Stop Cussing at Me

  1. Lori says:

    Excellent points!
    Agreed, the stigma is the biggest prohibitive barrier for those who need help and support. However, I try to see the GOOD in media reporting the solider was struggling with PTSD. Because it at least highlights how poorly we are providing support to toes who need it most – and the consequences of leaving these folks hanging. Let’s hope the the lives of those lost in this tragedy are not in vein, but that their legacy will have shed light on the magnitude of the mental health needs of our service members and their families!

    As an aside, I would certainly not say that the stigma of HIV/AIDS has decimated. While it had been mitigated thanks in part to educational campaigns, it is still alive an well… Believe it or not, even in major metropolitan centers. And mental health will likely follow suit, unfortunately it is hard to change culture/beliefs quickly, but hopefully recent events expedite the change needed!

    • While I agree that being away of the labels are important; however, I do believe that it perpetuates the thought that people with said diagnosis are “crazy.” Which does not facilitate an environment that fosters the need to have people seek out help.

      I will change the wording so it doesn’t say decimated.

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