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Why is your support essential? Our vision is to alleviate the negative perspectives and treatment of ‘mental’ disorders that impact millions of adults and children. The disease or medical model has been the approach towards mental health since the dawning of civilization. It is called the pathographic perspective, or the history of a person’s suffering. The disease model focuses on diagnosis, disease, deficit, and denigration. 

The Wellness Model addresses the disease model’s hostility and has become the central element of successful symptom alleviation. Psychological wellbeing emphasizes the intrinsic character strengths and attributes that generate the motivation, persistence, and perseverance to recover. 

Firmly establishing Wellness Models requires a reformation of language, power structure, and perspective throughout the mental healthcare community and beyond. 

  • 1 in 5 adults and 1 in 6 children (6-17) have a diagnosable mental illness.
  • 20 million adults and 5 million adolescents experience mild to major depression.
  • 45 million adults and 13 million adolescents are impacted by anxiety disorders.
  • 60% of those have both anxiety and depression.
  • The rate infection for minorities is 1.5-2.5 times higher.
  • Anxiety and depression are the primary causes of the 56% increase in adolescent suicide over the last decade.
  • Sexual and gender-based adolescents are almost five times more likely to attempt suicide.
  • There are 31 types of dysfunctions listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

The disease model of mental health focuses on the problem. The Wellness Model emphasizes the solution. There are four important things you should know.

  1. A ‘mental’ disorder is perfectly natural.
  2. It is not the fault of the disordered.
  3. We have been misled and misinformed by the disease model.
  4. Everyone deserves better

It is perfectly natural. A disorder (neurosis) is a common part of natural human development. Scientific American speculates they are so common, almost everyone will develop at least one diagnosable disorder at some point in their life. It is, simply, a condition that negatively impacts one’s emotional wellbeing and quality of life. 

It is not the fault of the disordered. Infection occurs, in most cases, during adolescence or earlier. In the rare event of infection later in life, the susceptibility originates in adolescence/childhood. It is due to physical, emotional, or sexual exploitation. It is hereditary, environmental, or trauma-caused. Perhaps parents were controlling or did not provide emotional validation. Maybe there was bullying or a broken home. It is never the fault of the disordered: it may be no one’s fault.

Forget what you have been told. You have been negatively informed by the disease model of mental health and influenced by mental health stigma. The disease model focuses on diagnosis, disorder, deficit, and denigration. Through its processes, a disordered person ceases to be an individual and becomes their disorder. The Wellness Model emphasizes the character strengths and virtues that generate the motivation and persistence/perseverance to recover.

The description, ‘mental’ promotes hostile perceptions of incompetence, unworthiness, and undesirability. It is the dominant source of stigma, shame, and self-denigration. It feeds the negative public stereotype. Realistically, we cannot eliminate the word ‘mental’ from the culture, but we can promote better awareness.

Everyone deserves better. ‘Mental’ illness is a stigma, formed by ignorance, prejudice, and discrimination. It is facilitated by public opinion, family rejection, a misinformed community, media misrepresentation, and the disease model of mental health. 

Public opinion considers the ‘mentally’ ill dangerous, unpredictable, and socially undesirable.

Family stigmatization. 25% to 50% of family members hide their relationship to avoid bringing shame to the family. 

The media stereotypes the ‘mentally’ ill as hysterical, unpredictable, and dangerous schizophrenics. Half of news stories allude to violence. 

Healthcare professionals are undertrained, misinformed, and inflexibleClinicians deal with 31 similar and comorbid disorders, over 400 schools of psychotherapy, multiple treatment programs, and a constantly evolving plethora of medications. They do not know the personal impact of the disorder.  Reports cite rude or dismissive staff, coercive measures, excessive wait-times, paternalistic or demeaning attitudes, one-size-fits-all treatment programs, medications with undesirable side-effects, stigmatizing language, and general therapeutic pessimism. 

The etiology-driven disease model defines the ‘mentally’ disordered as incapable, deceitful, unempathetic, manipulative, difficult, irresponsible, and incompetent. Which disorder poses the most threat? What behaviors contribute to the disorder? Is it contagious? What sort of person has a mental illness?  Diagnostic criteria change dramatically from one edition to the next. Causes and symptoms are added, removed, and rewritten. Researchers cite substantial discrepancies and variations in definition, epidemiology, assessment, and treatment. There is rampant misdiagnosis.

The Wellness Models’ emphasis on character strengths and virtues, supported by humanism, positive psychology, and other wellbeing-focused alliances, facilitates accountability and fosters self-reliance.  A battle is not won by focusing on inadequacy but by knowing and utilizing strengths and attributes. That is how recovery happens―with pride and self-reliance and determination―with the awareness of capability. 

We all deserve to be treated with dignity and appreciation.

  • Revising negative and hostile language will encourage new positive perspectives.
  • The self-denigrating aspects of shame will dissipate, and stigma become less threatening. 
  • A doctor-client knowledge exchange will address the failing reliability of diagnosis and the difficulty identifying risk factors. 
  • Realizing ‘mental’ illness is a natural part of human development will generate social acceptance and accommodation. 
  • Recognizing that the disordered are not responsible for their condition will revise public opinion that they are weak and their disorder a reflection of behavior. 
  • Emphasizing character strengths and virtues of the disordered will positively impact their self-beliefs and image. 
  • Realizing proximity and susceptibility will impact the irrational desire to distance and isolate. 

The Wellness Model helps re-engage the intrinsic character strengths and attributes that generate the motivation, persistence, and perseverance to recover. 

Any suggestion of undesirability is a devaluation more life-limiting and disabling than the illness itself.