Earlier this month, First Lady of the United States (FLOTUS) Michelle Obama spoke out against mental health stigma in Prevention’s October issue, Huffington Post reports.
Mental health issues continue to be negatively perceived in society – a perception Obama has worked for years to combat.
“The stigma around talking about mental health and getting help for it just doesn’t make any sense,” FLOTUS said. “This is an issue that affects us all.”
Indeed, mental health issues affect a large portion of the population both in the United States and throughout the world. In the U.S. alone, roughly 20 percent of American adults experience mental health issues each year.
FLOTUS has focused on one mental health issue in particular: post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This disorder can affect anyone who has experienced trauma, but it is often associated with veterans who have been in combat.
To further focus on helping our veterans combat PTSD, Obama and Jill Biden launched Joining Forces in 2011 – an initiative that focuses on mental health care for our military members and their families.
FLOTUS said to Prevention: “I kept meeting service members and military spouses who were hesitant to ask for help because they thought they should be able to handle it themselves or that seeking help meant they were weak or broken. But of course that couldn’t be further from the truth.”
Always concerned with children’s wellbeing, Obama also worked with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to raise awareness for children’s mental health.
In her interview with Prevention, Obama expressed her strong belief that fighting the cultural stigmatization of mental health begins with properly teaching children that, “mental illnesses are just like physical illnesses and deserve the same kind of care and compassion”