When Will Mental Illness Be Treated Like Cancer?

“My goal is to see that mental illness is treated like cancer.”

~Jane Pauley

One day the general public is going to wake up and say, “Wow, mental illness is really rampant in our society. What happened to all those research dollars they should have been spending on these life threatening and disabling illnesses?”

Right now it seems that people just want to continue keeping their heads buried in the sand and push the entire mental illness conversation under the carpet. It’s the case of, “if we don’t acknowledge it, maybe it will go away.”

Sorry. I don’t think mental illness is going anywhere. As a matter of fact it seems more prevalent today than ever before. Maybe this is because we actually collect statistics about it now. I’m not sure. But I do know some of the statistics and as far as public health goes we have a near crises on our hands.

Consider this…

  • The Center for Disease Control reports that suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States
  • According to the Global Burden of Disease Study Mental Illness and Low Back Pain are the number one causes of disability worldwide

One of the authors of The Global Burden of Disease Study, Dr. Ali Mokdad professor of Global Health from the University of Washington suggests the following:

“It’s about time for us to combine physical and mental health as one issue that we need to deal with,” Mokdad said. “Unfortunately, in the United States, mental health or mental conditions become an issue when there is an unfortunate event, a shooting somewhere, and then we talk about it. That is what reminds us that we have a problem. In reality, the data tells us that we have a major problem with mental health and we should give it the attention we give other risk factors, such as smoking.”

Those of us who live with mental health conditions have a great deal of insights into what it is like to live with these diseases. We need better access to care and better treatment.

What kind of statistics is it going to take to treat mental illness like any other serious physical illness?  What’s it going to take for the public to realize how prevalent mental illness is?  Share your opinion in the comments section.  I’m curious to know what you think.





4 thoughts on “When Will Mental Illness Be Treated Like Cancer?

  1. 1 in 4 have a mental illness, you would think it would already be treated like a cancer. In fact, they have found a link in rapid growing cells in the brain (cancer) to bipolar and schizophrenia. So seemingly…mental illness is brain cancer. People are afraid to talk about mental illness…just like they used to be afraid of talking about cancer. In due time. Thanks for sharing 🙂

    Mental Parent


    1. Hi Heather,
      Thanks so much for your comment. I do agree that one day mental illness will be something people talk about with the same compassion they do with cancer. We will keep the faith in the meantime!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s