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Bill Butler: It’s time to speak out about mental health and be willing, individually and collectively, to help

More and more people are talking about mental health.


Leaders in Northern Kentucky like Greg Harmeyer, CEO of TiER1, and attorney Tom Hiltz have taken action with their colleagues and community to educate about mental illness and harmful stigma.

Thousands of people laced their sneakers to show support for mental health during NAMIWalk Cincinnati.     

But there is so much more to do to advance mental health treatment, research and education.  It may be hard to believe, but mental health affects 2.5 times more people than heart disease, cancer and diabetes combined. It’s the largest reason for low productivity and lost workdays in most businesses. 

Throughout my career at Corporex, I learned a lot about how challenging mental health disorders can be for someone – and how it can affect their families, friends and co-workers.  Coupled with the limitations of the illness itself, the hurdle of stigma adds another challenge. 

I was brought up in a generation where people believed you should tough everything out. If you got sick – just tough it out.  I’ve seen first-hand how difficult it is for people to express how they are truly feeling – at business and even to their friends.  

It’s not surprising to me, then, to learn that more than half of people who are diagnosed with depression, for example, never seek treatment.

Some perceive mental illness as a sign of weakness. That can’t be further from the truth.  Mental illness is as serious as any other chronic disease.  And like any other disease, acknowledging you need help – or recognizing someone needs help – is a sign of strength and a critical first step to returning to the life you and others love. 

Today, mental illness is highly treatable.  And, some of the nation’s best mental healthcare is available right here in our region.  That’s why today I value helping colleagues who have mental health needs and volunteer on the board at the not-for-profit Lindner Center of HOPE. 

We’ve come a long way in addressing mental illness in the 10 years since the Center was founded.  

The Lindner Center is unlike any other organization in the Midwest.  The staff’s success  helping patients and level of commitment and dedication to groundbreaking research for effective new treatments make it a beacon of hope. The fact that world-class care is available so close to home is testament to our region.

There are hurdles, however, on the path to better mental healthcare for everyone.

There is a flaw in the way mental health services are reimbursed. Until everyone — including government and commercial health insurers — recognize treatment for mental illness is as important as treating heart disease or cancer, progress will be slowed and access to mental health care throughout our community will never meet the demand.  

We as a community have to evolve. With 1 in 5 Americans experiencing a mental issue in their lifetimes, most should recognize the importance of having the best possible care available.     

That’s why Craig and Frances Lindner recognized that there was a need and an opportunity for our region to develop the best possible care.  Their attitude — and mine — is that we can do something about it.   

Today, the Lindner Center is recognized as one of the nation’s leading centers for mental health treatment and research.  It is a founding member of the National Network of Depression Centers. 

More than 39,000 patients from throughout the Tristate, across the country and abroad have been helped at the Center.  A range of free, public education programs are also offered. Check the schedule at LindnerCenterofHOPE.org.

Most important, if you need help, ask.  If you know someone who needs help, offer yours.  Find out what can be done at your workplace to support those with mental health needs.

Your life – and those who know and love – may depend on it.

Bill Butler is Chairman of Corporex Companies

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  1. Harold A Maio says:

    —-to educate about mental illness and harmful stigma.

    When we call the prejudice we direct “stigma” we show we have not yet come to terms with our prejudice.

    • Tucker Lloyd says:

      Huh? speak English Harold, the guys talking about fixing mental illness and you throw out a bunch of words that dont make sense to anyone, saying he’s wrong. Come on man.

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