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Simpson covers mental illness, substance use disorder on WTIB's Talk of the Town

December 19, 2019 posted by Vidant Health News

IMG_1474(1).jpgGlenn Simpson, right, joins Henry Hinton, left, on WTIB's Talk of the Town

Glenn Simpson, administrator for Behavioral Health at Vidant Health, knows it’s an important time of year to be aware of mental illness and substance use disorder. During the holiday season, some people can either become depressed or if already depressed, can deepen while others seem to be in their happiest mood of the year.

But he said we also need to be aware of mental illness and substance use disorders for the rest of the year as well.

“We often hear at this time of year especially about holiday blues, holiday stress — even at times there have been Christmas songs have been written about depression at the holidays,” Simpson said. “But depression for some people is not just at the holidays, it’s every day.”

Simpson joined WTIB’s Talk of the Town to discuss the stigma surrounding mental illness and the importance of having people in our lives who care and show compassion.

Mental illness touches everyone, whether it is through a family member, a friend or a co-worker. Simpson said it is important to check in on people and sometimes that means asking tough questions. Due to the stigmas associated with mental illness, people will tend to keep their troubles out of the light.

“Sometimes asking those tough questions actually is part of the healing process for some people,” he said.

It’s even important to step up and ask those we do not know if they need help. Simpson said he was recently told a story of a person crying on a city bus that was completely ignored by all but one person. The one “Are you OK?” can make all the difference.

In the holiday season, he noted the importance of showing love, grace and mercy to those around us.

“There’s not one special word or one special sentence, but it’s showing care,” he said.

Simpson noted that in 2020, one in four adult Americans will have a diagnosable mental illness. He also said substance use disorder falls into the same stigmatization as mental illness. The stigma associated with it are often strong and keep those facing the disease from talking about their problems.

He said it does not need to be this way and it starts with looking at mental illnesses and substance use disorders from a new perspective.

“People see depression and substance use disorders as not necessarily the diseases they are,” Simpson said. “We often see it as a weakness, we see it as a character flaw, or as sin. I think the destigmatization, even though we’re improving, has a long way to go.”

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