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Breaking the silence is an article written by Joshua Alvarez in today’s issue of the Palo Alto Weekly. The writer did an excellent job in expressing how stigma can prevent or make it a struggle to receive help when faced with mental illness. Jim Millsap, who is our Executive Director of The La Selva Group, also contributed to the article. Below is a portion taken from today’s story. READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE.
The pressure continued even at San Francisco State. The summer before her junior year she attempted suicide. After recovering she was diagnosed with clinical depression and enrolled in La Selva, a mental health services clinic on California Avenue in Palo Alto that’s part of the Momentum Health Group.
For too many people like Thomas and Dolph, what exacerbates their despair is not so much depression, which thanks to decades of research is treatable, but their reluctance to seek help, according to James Millsap, executive director of La Selva. Simply put, many people who should, and could, be receiving effective treatment are not.
“Something stops them. What stops them is not only their condition, which saps their energy and willingness to reach out, but also things they hear on the television set and the people around them that people with mental illnesses are crazy, dangerous, losers, weak or whatever. So then the solution is to start hiding what they feel and that ultimately leads to tragedy. That is the real enemy out there: It’s stigma,” he said.