Rosa Parks: Bus Boycott, Civil Rights & Facts - HISTORY

One of the worst forms of stigma against those living with mental health challenges is not having their truth heard. Not considered credible. Not believed. Not considered as much of a person as others are. Simply because they’ve been diagnosed with a mental illness with no consideration given to how well-functioning they might be.

If you have a conflict with an authority figure and you go to the governing body of your organization, company or church to complain, it’s not likely that you, as an individual with mental health challenges, will receive a fair hearing.

According to the OBSI, “the fair hearing requirement means that the people affected are given a reasonable opportunity to present their point of view and to respond to facts presented by others, and that the decision-maker will genuinely consider what each person has told them when making the decision.”

In a conflict I was involved in, such a fair hearing did not occur. Twice I went to the governing body that would have been able to deal with it. But when it was learned that I had mental health challenges, the complaint was ignored. Both times. Not having the problem addressed left me with even more emotional pain than I had before. I felt my person hood was under attack. Perhaps I should have gone back a third time and forced the issue as a person should when they believe in their rights. But I gave in to discouragement.

Where else could I go for justice? I blogged about it, as I’m doing now. But it didn’t solve anything except to release my frustration.

If we could only have the courage to be like Rosa Parks. In 1955, she helped start the civil rights movement in the U.S. by refusing to give up her seat to a white man on a Montgomery, Alabama bus. She became a recognized symbol of dignity and strength in the struggle of racial segregation.

Parks had the self-assurance to know she had as much worth as a white person. She was determined to stand up for herself, at the same time doing so for her brothers and sisters who were treated that way. If we could only summon such courage and strength and stand up for our rights as the human beings we are.

The trouble is that many of us live with a certain amount of low self-esteem and don’t have the confidence to push for fairness. We, like Rosa Parks, should believe that we’re individuals of equal worth and that we should be considered such. And then we must act as though we believe it.