As a person with mental health issues who has helped many like herself, I worry when I see people like us portrayed as victims—a class of people set apart from others, needing special care and consideration. We are as human as anyone else and every one of us will need care when we’re not well—whether we deal with mental health issues or not.

When looking upon us, more important matters must be considered—those that focus on who we are as people of worth—people who want to be as brothers and sisters to the people who support us. We need to be encouraged to be all we can be and to develop lives that are full and satisfying, never living with the expectation that we will be victims forever.

Instead of just talking about how to understand those with mental health issues, why don’t we look at the needs we all share. Echoing what Jean Vanier has to say in his book, Becoming Human,  We may be different, but all of us have the same needs, whether we live with mental health issues or not.

We are all vulnerable human beings, with a need to love and be loved, a need to grow, to develop our capacities, to learn that we have value, and to find our place in the world. The question is not what makes us different, but what do we have in common. How can we—the weak and the strong—come together to support each other, no one standing above the other?

Probably the best way for the “well” and the “not-so-well” to truly accept each other as brothers and sisters in Christ, might be to sit down and talk with each other, vulnerably and humbly sharing how each of us might have been hurt. Because we’ve all been hurt in one way or another and need to have our pain acknowledged by those who care—those who are willing to listen.

You may find that the people with lived experience you help will one day be able to offer that kind of help to others. They will be victors.

We must try and come together. As equals, no one person standing above another. That’s where true understanding will come from.


My book is coming soon.

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