As mental health awareness month ends, THV11 journalists Dorian Craft and Michael Aaron spark a conversation that they hope will continue.
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – As mental health awareness month ends, THV11 reporters Dorian Craft and Michael Aaron spark a conversation that they hope will continue over the coming months.
They both share how mental health struggles have affected their lives in an effort to raise awareness and erase stigma.
“One in five Americans experiences mental illness each year and I’m one of them,” Aaron told viewers Wednesday. “As a journalist, the last thing I want to do is make up any story about myself. But as a neighbor and human like, it makes sense to share that part of me with you.”
“This job requires us to put on a microphone (and often a smile) and bring you the news. It’s a job I love, but being on TV doesn’t make me or my colleagues immune to life’s challenges. “These challenges include anxiety and depression. I share this to remind you of this: you are not alone. There is help. There is hope,” morning reporter THV11 said.
Craft, a sports presenter and reporter for the station, says she received a diagnosis of anxiety with depressive episodes in July 2020.
“It certainly got worse with the pandemic that we all lived through, that we still live in, but there were issues that I should have dealt with for a long time. [before] and I didn’t because I was afraid of the stigma of mental illness, ”Craft said.
“I didn’t want to be called crazy,” Craft said. “I didn’t want to be called emotional, and all of these things are things that so many people deal with and sometimes feel like they can’t get help. As soon as I was finally able to admit to myself that I needed help, things started to improve “.
Sacha McBain, Ph.D. she is a psychologist at the UAMS Psychiatric Research Institute. He says the stigma goes beyond an individual, who is also cultural and systemic.
“To deal with stigma, we really need to think about the big changes that need to happen in terms of how we talk and how we access mental health,” he said. “As a person, though, I think one of the first steps is to release some of the internal stigma … of acknowledging that you need support, and that’s not a character flaw.”
For those seeking help, McBain says the pandemic has created new opportunities for virtual treatment
AR-Connect is a free telehealth service that is available to everyone in Arkansas. The program offers up to six free therapy sessions and can help people connect with a doctor for more care.
“One of the really important parts as we move forward in the pandemic and in the years to come is to make sure we have local or federal legislation that continues to allow access to telehealth and pay for it because it’s one of the biggest Things are obviously cost barriers, ”McBain said.
You can watch the full interview with Dr. McBain to the previous video player.
The National Suicide Prevention Line is a hotline for people in crisis or for those looking to help someone else. To speak with a certified listener, call 1-800-273-8255.
People in crisis can also send HELLO messages to 741741 to speak with a trained listener.