Mental Health Stigma

I am no mental health professional. I am a not a law maker. I am not law enforcement. I am just an average ordinary citizen. But if you have a pulse, you are aware of the stigma that comes with even the phrase "mental health''. You most likely know someone that has been diagnosed with a 'mental disorder', seeks counseling or possibly shows signs of needing assistance. You may even be that someone yourself. But for various reasons many choose not to seek help. Whether it be because of how others may perceive them, the cost of care, not having the time to obtain proper help, or because they know if they were to even seek any type of help- they may have rights stripped from them. They are forced to choose.

As one of my clients was forced to deal with this yesterday when applying for their Maryland Permit to Carry a Handgun. During the processing of her application- the Maryland State Police Licensing Division interviewed the applicant, as usual. During their interview the person was asked (this is not an exact quote) "Are you currently or have you ever been treated for depression, anxiety, ADHD... ? " to which she truthfully answered 'Yes', which led to even more questions and requiring her to obtain documents in order to be considered for her ability to protect herself outside the home with a handgun. See image below for the exact letter she received.

It is an old date at the top but it is a general letter given to any applicant that has indicated a history of seeking mental health assistance, she received this yesterday morning.

Many are well aware of the restrictions placed on those that seek help with mental health situations they may have. Many know that those that seek help do not have the same rights as those that don't. Many chose to retain their rights and deal with the situation in their own way. A situation which may not be a big deal at all, but when left untreated builds up over time- eventually becoming a problem. Some turn to drugs, alcohol, or letting it build up inside until it spills out.

How have we come to the point in time where anyone that seeks help is considered a danger, not deserving of the same rights and but deserving of scrutiny? We are not talking about it as an issue of due-process (which we will talk about Due-Process and how it is no longer a constitutional right in Maryland, in a future blog article) nor even how it is infringing on those Americans 2nd Amendment right. How did we come to stigmatize those seeking the help of mental health professionals?

This is an open discussion and as always- I look forward to reading your thoughts in the comments below, whether your agree or not. I prefer dissenting responses that articulated well and provoke real thought rather than someone that simply agrees. Disagree but thoroughly articulate your position.

Should anyone that seeking mental health treatment be further scrutinized and/or not have the ability to defend themselves at all? Let us know.

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