One person can make a difference!!
I hope to make a difference in the world, even if it is just a little difference. Today I actually did.
The stigma that surrounds mental illness has long been something that I have been fighting to try and stop. That is one of the reasons I talk about our family’s story. One way to get rid of that stigma is to see the person, not the illness – and to do that you need to use people- first language. People–First Language emphasizes the person, not the disability by putting the person first. No one says, “ I am cancer, ” so you don’t say, “I am schizophrenic.”
Earlier today I saw several posts on Facebook and other articles about the “Schizophrenic #Manintree.” A Facebook post was written by Tim Murphy, U.S. Representative from Pennsylvania’s 18th Congressional District, a champion for Mental Healthcare reform. His post hoped to get people’s attention at the absurdity of the the arrest and disposition of Cody Lee Miller, a man who spent 24 hours atop a Sequoia tree outside of Seattle. Instead of getting this man psychiatric help, a judge ordered him to have “no unwanted contact” from the tree and pay $50,000 in bail. Murphy went on to state that people were up in arms about the tree but there was no concern about this man’s need medical needs. He further states that Cody’s mom is trying desperately to help her son but “Congress is still stalling on his Helping Families In Mental Health Crisis Act, HR 2646.”
I completely support Congressman Murphy and this bill. I have advocated for this Bill. But I couldn’t get passed the first line of his Facebook post because all I saw was the stigmatizing statement of “Schizophrenic #Manintree.” So, I commented on the Facebook Post (which has 9600 shares and 7900 likes) –
Everyone wants to get him help but you are calling him “schizophrenic man in tree”. That makes him not seem like a person. How about the “man with schizophrenia who was in the tree”
And guess what? My friend Nicole commented too. She wanted to write the same thing. I responded and said I was going to blog about it. Five more people liked it. 18 minutes I went back to the post to get the exact wording to write this blog. And guess what? The Facebook post now says this, “ “#ManinTree who has been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and desperately needs psychiatric care”.
It worked. How amazing is that? My one comment was noticed and it made a difference.
Congressman Murphy is making a difference.
Cody’s mother who is fighting to get him help is making a difference.
My friend Nicole is making a difference.
Everyone else that is commenting and reading this are making a difference.
One person can make a difference.
Keep it up everyone.
And remember, a person with mental illness, is a person with mental illness, not a mentally ill person.
The original post to Facebook from Congressman Murphy: