Oregon's present state of health has been checked as poor in recent days. The Oregon Health Authority: Addictions and Mental Health Division has come under fire. It was concluded that Oregon has an abysmal track record for people completing their addiction treatment programs, and was only determined after The Oregonian requested the information. It is alarming to know that only around half of all people in Oregon that knowingly require mental or addiction help complete their programs. Which means the other 50% of individuals that don't complete rehabilitation are back in society, facing the same troubles as before. Is this just another case of corrupt officials, or does the information from Oregon show our society's inability to take mental health and addiction seriously?

It is estimated that one in every four adults will experience a mental health issue each year. Mental health problems are quite common, so why does our society not take recovery sincerely? As a whole, our society has historically tended to write off individuals with mental health and addiction problems. Earlier in history, mental illness and the effects of addiction were sometimes attributed to demonic possessions, witchcraft, and religious punishments. Mental health institutions have a terrible reputation because of particular institution's failure to provide suitable living conditions and these institutions tolerance of abuse. Today, individuals with addiction problems are referred to as drunks, alkies, tweakers, junkies, and druggies. The term 'retard' (in reference to mentally handicapped individuals) has only recently been frowned upon within our society.

The entertainment culture our society values holds drug and alcohol use on a pedestal. With wildly popular shows such as Breaking Bad, Jersey Shore, and movies such as Lawless or Project X, our society has a skewed view of the role and place of mental health issues. Some may argue that the de stigmatization of addiction will only result in more general acceptance of drug and alcohol use, but the difference between bingeing and addiction is present and must be acknowledged. They should not be lumped together, nor should they be held to the same expectations.

While these are only a few examples of the shortcomings present in society, it is somewhat indicative of the stigma our society still holds against individuals facing mental health issues, such as mental illness and addiction problems. The situation in Oregon shows that there is still much that can be done to combat the negative stigmas these individuals face, both at a federal and institutional level. Especially if we expect these individuals to complete inpatient treatments and therapy in order to have a happy and healthy life within the community. Once our society can look at mental health and addiction issues without a negative frame of mind, we as a society may stop seeing terrible injustices at the hands of our public institutions (similar to the problems we have seen in Oregon). Hopefully, our society can take what we have learned in Oregon and use that to move forward, stigma free, with a clear understanding of what actually happens in the mental health and addiction field and how our viewpoints can change things.

Author's Bio: 

From the U.S., Emily Calhoun is a communications specialist with American Addiction Centers. She started working in the health field because of her passion and drive for helping people to become the happiest and healthiest they can be. In her free time Emily enjoys exploring the outdoors, baking treats, and traveling to new countries.