VitArbr is a nonprofit organization dedicated to educating the community about the severity of mental illness and how to aid those who are suffering.
The stigma surrounding the diagnosis of general mood disorders, depression, and anxiety, in particular, is not, as commonly held, a result of the ignorance of the masses, but rather the profoundly prevalent empathy the population feels. It is not that we find an issue with prolonged sadness or paralyzing nervousness, but that we all share in this experience. Seeing others make public their emotional fragility devalues our personal inner turmoil. It is deeply hurtful to feel as though the troubles that cause us so much pain are objectively insignificant, that our demons are but irrational phobias, and that we are not also worthy of the compassion and care that those ostensibly vulnerable among us receive.
The real stigma is society’s fear of admitting this. We’ve romanticized mental illness as something dramatic, something as rare as a broken bone and as grave as cancer. In reality, depression and anxiety are fundamental parts of the human condition and are two of those rare things potent enough to connect the entire race. Let’s stop acting like depression or anxiety are special and admit that they are normal natural feelings. Indeed, what’s far more unusual is always being happy. The world is filled with suffering, and the only accurate measure of suffering is that relative to the individual psyche, not society as a whole. Though mental health awareness has gone up, it has utterly failed at addressing this stigma. While good-intentioned, it has only garnered scorn towards those it itself has encouraged to seek a diagnosis.
Mental health stigma is individual, not societal, and we should address it as such. We owe it to ourselves to help our friends when they feel down and seek them help when broken down. If we do this, maybe, just maybe we’ll find that what’s far more valuable than happiness, far more capable of sustaining our will to live, is love.
We hope you join us in our mission.