With the tragic loss of Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade to suicide this week, I wanted to share my thoughts on emotional wellness and mental illness. It's time to change the way we (as a society) view mental illness and shift our focus to achieving emotional wellness.
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness:
What does this mean? As Americans, we are all touched by mental illness. It is prevalent in our families, our friends, and our communities.
Our conventional healthcare system simply does not know how to handle mental illness or promote emotional wellness.
Despite scientific advances in understanding brain chemistry, there is a shame-based social stigma attached to conditions like depression, anxiety, and bipolar syndrome. Some professions/societies go so far as to penalize those who have been diagnosed with a mental illness. As a result, millions of Americans suffer in secret because they are reluctant/scared to seek help.
As we’ve witnessed this week, social status, wealth, achievements, age, race, religion, and outward appearances do not protect anyone from suffering in secret from a mental illness. It can literally affect anyone at any time. There are not always outward signs of an impending mental crisis. Everyone we meet is fighting some type of battle that we know nothing about.
As a holistic practitioner, I treat patients as a whole person, mind-body-spirit. This approach is particularly helpful to de-stigmatizing mental illness and promoting emotional wellness. Acupuncture, Chinese herbs, exercise, nutrition, meditation, gua-sha and tui-na are all helpful tools to promote a health emotional balance.
If you know someone whom is suffering, please know that help is always available, often at no-cost or low-cost. Now here is the shift to a societal focus on emotional wellness... as their friend (and as a fellow human), realize that you (yes! YOU!) have a responsibility to step up and find help when they cannot ask for it themselves.
Here's where you can find help for your friend/spouse//lover/ex-lover/brother/sister/cousin/mother/father/aunt/uncle/teacher/colleague:
Dr. Michelle Wendt, L.Ac., DACM
Dr. Michelle Wendt, L.Ac., DACM practices Oriental & Chinese Medicine in Hawaii and Texas.