Dear ISSTD Community,
World Mental Health Day was a few weeks ago now on October 10, and it aims to improve community awareness and reduce the stigma of living with mental illness. The theme of the day this year was that “Mental health is a universal human right”, recognising that mental health is a necessary resource for living that must be protected.
The dissociative disorders are sometimes described as adaptive responses to abuse and neglect, at other times as disabling illnesses, and, often enough, as both. Focusing on mental health as an inalienable right and inheritance common to all human beings provides a different perspective. It calls attention, firstly, to behaviours and circumstances that inflict lasting psychological injuries, and, secondly, to our collective responsibility to prevent those injuries and help to heal them once they occur.
The dissociative disorders are often hidden by their very nature, since they develop partly as a kind of ‘camouflage’ to help children evade the full extent of abuse and maltreatment, but also by design, since we live in societies that routinely overlook or misinterpret the signs of dissociation. In the ISSTD, we are committed to increasing the visibility of trauma and dissociation in clinical practice and creating pathways to health and safety.
Thinking about mental health as more than a psychological state, but instead as a political right, only underscores the urgency of our mission, and the contribution that our members make every day. It’s always a privilege to hear about the difference that you are making every day.