For local resident Michael Barclay, his mission is personal. Barclay spoke of his vision at Wednesday’s Crawfordsville Rotary Club meeting. Simply, he wants the public to understand all aspects of mental illness.
Barclay is a caseworker for Greencastle based ResCare. He helps his clients deal with a variety of mental illnesses. He understands many of the issues and stigmas of someone having mental illness and how the public percieves mental illness patients, because he too has a mental illness he lives with every day. He is diagnosed of having a bipolar disorder.
“I want to be as transparent as I can be,” Barclay said. “I suffer from being bipolar. But, I am succeeding at what I do as a bipolar patient. I want to give hope to those who have a mental disorder and. I want to help others gain the hope I have.”
Barclay said those who suffer from mental disorders are often misunderstood and that society percieves the patients in a way that keeps some, who are suffering from a mental disease, from seeking help. He said since so many people believe patients with a mental disorder all act irresponsibly or in a crazed manner, they will not seek help to keep their condition a secret. Barclay said Hollywood characterizations of mental patients does not represent the majority. He said many who suffer from mental illness do not seek professional help because they do not want to be “labeled as crazy.”
“There is a stigman, or negative perception, of people experiencing mental illness,” Barclay said. “There is a huge misconception about the symptons and consequences of many mental disorders.”
Barclay said that until recently, professional caretakers and the general public, are learning the consequences of surving a trauma. Anyone who has experienced a major trauma in their life can have intense physical and pshychological stress reactions. The mental condition can mirror some one who is suffering from post-traumatic stress disorders. The trauma can be multiple events or one single event such as witnessing a loved one die in a tragic accident.
Those suffering from trauma are often inattentive, disorganized, depressed or have other mental disorders. Barclay said he sees frequent trauma disorders in children who live in homes where poor parenting skills are present, or when substance abuse is present in the home.
North Montgomery Community School Superintendent Dr. Coleen Moran agreed with Barclay concerning trauma disorders being on the increase in the class room. She said there is an acknowledgement of the problem and local school officials have added the condition to school policies.
“I can tell you we see exactly what you are describing,” Moran said. “I can also tell you that all three county school superintendents are working together to incorporate trauma stress awareness into our counseling…