Nick Hughes

Opinion Editor

There is a stigma against mental health care it seems to me. Wherever the source of this renewed stigma, it has begun to affect those who want to get help and do not because it’s, “weird or only crazy people need that.” Over 450 million people in the world have some type of mental disability. This is according to the World Health Organization (WHO). There is enough of us to tell those who oppress us that enough is enough. I am not saying to openly revolt, what I am saying is to stand up for your rights. It does not matter that you are disabled; what really does matter is that you are here and ready to contribute to the world. Use the resources available on campus. Use resources in your hometowns. Break the stigma that has arrived because people do not care enough to take the time to understand you. You are a human being and you have undeniable rights, regardless of you having a disability.

There are those in power that feel that people with disabilities are a burden. You can get clear evidence of this by looking at the current President of the United States of America, Donald Trump. The incident has been talked to death about when Trump mocked a reporter with a disability. What I took from that instance was he did not care. He does not care about those with disabilities, in fact, he sees them as lower than him. His administration’s policy does not help those with disabilities at all. At least from what I have read and what I have observed.

With this climate being acceptable, there have been instances of harassment and belittlement across the country towards those with disabilities. Whether they are physical or mental disabilities. This is unacceptable and needs to stop.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was passed in 1990. One would think that the country would have evolved past name calling since then, but that is not the case at all. The use of the R-word and other slurs have popped up since the implementation of the ADA. Even the term autistic has become a slur. Take some time to understand those with disabilities. Do not look at them like they are freaks or whatever word you call them by. That person, whoever it may be, is a good person and I want those people to know that they are worth it. Everyone is worth it if you think about it. Everyone has something unique and grand to offer the world. The unacceptable reality is that those gifts are squandered by an atmosphere that makes those with disabilities hate themselves. I have felt this self-loathing myself and I can say with utmost certainty that it is one of the worst feelings you can ever have.

I thought something was wrong with me and that I needed fixing. Autism is not something that needs to be fixed, it is something that a person, in this case, me, has to learn to live with.

All people have bad days and that includes those with disabilities. We might have a few more than average is all. I challenge anyone reading this to think for a second. Think of how you could better the world in how you interact with those who have disabilities. Especially those on Millersville University grounds. We are a community and we have to support each other and the only way we can get through life is by supporting each other.