Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Speaking out about illness that no-one talks about

There are many health and medical issues in the news; which ones are important enough to talk and write about? It’s easy to say “all of them,” but I’m a strong believer in trying to make the most noise about the very topics people don’t want to hear about.

How many men perform self-examination for testicular cancer? How many people have had screening colonoscopies? How many people openly discuss their battles with mental health disorders? These are just a few examples. Years ago, we didn’t talk about breast cancer. Now it’s all over the news and women are reminded often about the importance of breast health. That’s what exposure can do.

There are so many things that are taboo in our society – still. We like to think that in the western world, we’re open to talk about whatever we want, but that’s not always true. At one time, no-one even whispered the term “sexual abuse.” But now that it can be talked about, children and adults who are and were hurt, can start to seek the help they need. Schizophrenia, bipolar disease, and all the other mental health disorders are only now being talked about. Before, they were not issues that people wanted to deal with. You can’t see mental health, you can’t measure it in terms of lab tests or x-rays, you can’t verify it in how someone appears physically, so it’s truly the unknown. The problem is though, mental health is just as important, if not more important sometimes, than physical health. How many times have we read or heard that your mental status plays a huge role on recovery from physical illness?

We need to speak out about any illness or disorder that seems to be hidden because of shame. The more we talk about it, the more we make noise about it, the more people will sit up and take notice – the squeaky wheel and all that.

Todays news:

Whole grains may cut risk of inflammatory diseases
Radiation under the knife can speed recovery
Relief for 'bad pain' is possible, researchers say

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