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Yesterday my husband and I watched Netflix all day because my back was hurting and the two of us came down with a cold. We watched an old movie, “Regarding Henry,” and we watched a documentary from 2007 called, “For the Bible Tells Me So.”

“Regarding Henry” is about an attorney, who isn’t a nice guy. He gets shot and has to learn everything all over again. It is about his transformation. It is a feel good movie.

“For the Bible Tells Me So” is a documentary about how many people in the church have treated their gay children and the things that many pastors and famous preachers have preached about being gay. It only got three stars on Netflix (probably because of a poorly done cartoon that explains studies scientists have done to find the cause of homosexuality, and it lists all the medical associations that no longer consider it a disorder). Besides the strange cartoon plopped in the middle of the documentary my husband and I both think it is worth watching.

Many people writing about mental illness call themselves advocates, and I want to suggest that if we are going to be effective advocates, we need to advocate for equality and inclusion for all people. I didn’t know this, but LGBTQ teens had a much higher rate of suicidal ideation and attempted suicide than the general population.

Suicide is a problem that should be on the radar of any mental health advocate. The other things that should be on our radar are the number of people of color locked in prisons and who suffer from a mental illness. Women should be on our radar too because it is a fact that doctors often dismiss their complaints or treat their pain in a much less aggressive manner than they do that of men. Also, the percentage of mentally ill women in prison is higher than that of men. 

I have known for a long time that there is an intersection between disability issues, feminism, racism, and LGBTQ issues. As someone who cares passionately about the issues regarding the mentally ill, and how we are perceived, treated, talked about, housed, etc. There is no way to move away from these other issues.

To be an educated advocate for the mentally ill and to understand all of the issues and how they intersect, collide, and combine with other issues, we need to start reading about feminism, racism, LGBTQ. The problems inherent in these movements are also our problems, not just because equality and justice are something we are fighting for, and we should help others to achieve – these issues have an impact on the mental health of Americans as a whole. The way I see it is that we must move forward hand in hand because if we leave one group behind that group will keep the rest of us from truly flourishing. Many of us are in this together.