by Kate Fitch, CMWN Volunteer
This past weekend, the Dignity Mental Health Coalition hosted their first-ever “Destination Dignity March.” The March was a chance for nearly a thousand people living with mental health conditions, alongside a number of state and national mental health associations, to stand up for the right to human dignity. The group gathered on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. wearing neon-green shirts and hats with signs proclaiming “We are people first!” and “Mental illness is not a crime!” With the collaboration of nearly 50 organizations, the coalition managed an excellent turn-out for a first-time event, and we hope to see even bigger marches emerging across the country!
The Destination Dignity March was performed in protest to the unacceptable levels of homelessness, incarceration, unemployment, and suicide in those with mental health conditions. A major reason for these issues is stigma. People with mental health conditions are feared, ridiculed, and dismissed. People forget that we are just human beings, and this drives us into isolation. Community support, respect, and collaborative care will go a long way in changing these statistics, and these types of movements are exactly what we need to change the atmosphere.
So, what is dignity?
To me, it means that my opinions on my treatment are treated with as much respect as if I had any other illness. It means that I am not treated with fear or disgust simply because of my diagnoses. It means that I am a human being first, and I am treated like any other human being first. It means that I am not denied opportunities that would otherwise be available to me because of my mental health status.
What does it mean to you?
Read more about the Destination Dignity March on their website: