Behavioral health issues hurt businesses, who have trouble maintaining productivity. They hurt families, who struggle to care for their loved ones. And worst, they sometimes culminate in those most terrible of tragedies: mass shootings. Behavioral health must be taken seriously and given both the funding and the recognition that it needs to keep our country and our people happy, healthy, and safe.
We need public awareness campaigns to bring light to mental illnesses. Very often people are unaware that they suffer from a disorder, and sometimes the only way to reach them is through mass media. Next, we need to dedicate more funding to neuroscience research. We still know comparatively very little about the human brain, and additional research can help us identify the mechanisms behind behavioral health issues, thereby leading us to more effective treatment options. Third, we can curb prescription drug abuse by engaging with doctors and pharmacies to lead patients towards alternative pain management options.
The greatest actions we can take to destigmatize behavioral health conditions are in our own personal lives, not at the government level. We can be honest about treatment, show compassion for those with mental illnesses, and talk openly about personal mental health. The government can help, of course, especially by engaging in public awareness campaigns.