HOW MANY BICYCLISTS DOES IT TAKE TO CHANGE A LIGHTBULB
Commentary from Dr. Carolyn Phelps, PhD
Actually, I wasn’t really thinking light bulb, unless light bulb means “our national consciousness about mental illness.” I have a very skewed view of where I think we are on the issue of “Mental Illness and Stigma.” I’m a psychologist (so of course I think it’s ok to talk about your problems). I do a TV show about mental health and mental illness where the goal is to “raise awareness to start a conversation that will decrease stigma and instill hope.” I do a lot of public speaking on the topic. So there are times when I think “Ok do people get this now? Are we done with referring to those with a mental illness as those people? Have we moved on yet? And then somebody on the news refers to somebody in the news as “deranged and mentally ill” and I think, “Okey Dokey I see we still have some work to do.” The statistics are tired but noteworthy: 1 in 4 people will experience a significant mental health problem in their lifetime. That’s one of those “if there are 4 of you at lunch and the other 3 are fine – it’s you” situations. So if we took all the people who have ever experienced a mental health problem who suffered longer than necessary because they were afraid to say something or thought they should just be stronger and lined them up on bicycles wheel to wheel how long would that line be? I’m voting longer than San Francisco to Washington DC. Ride on, my friend. Ride on.