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Help reduce the stigma about mental health

May 23, 2018

We need to think more broadly about health. The World Health Organization defines health as a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.

According to the 2017 Community Health Status Survey, 1 in 5 adults in Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky said that a doctor or health care provider told them they had depression—and that’s just one of many mental health conditions.

To truly move forward in this area, we need to address stigma. If people feel ashamed, they’re less likely to seek the care they need. Some strategies from the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI):

  • Get educated. Mental health conditions are not the result of personal weakness, lack of character or poor upbringing.
  • See the person, not the condition. Get to know people and treat them with kindness and empathy.
  • Take action. Help ensure that policies and systems allow people who need treatment to access the care they need.
    Visit NAMI’s website at www.nami.org/Find-Support and www.nami.org/stigmafree to learn more.

Dr. O’dell Moreno Owens is the president and chief executive officer of Interact for Health and InterAct for Change. Dr. Owens is a reproductive endocrinologist. He earned an MD, an OB/GYN residency and a master’s of public health degree from Yale University School of Medicine. He also obtained a fellowship in reproductive endocrinology at Harvard Medical School. In recent years, Dr. Owens has served as the Hamilton County Coroner, Cincinnati State Technical and Community College President, and Interim Health Commissioner and Medical Director of the Cincinnati Health Department.

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