UNITED STATES—Mental health, it’s a taboo issue that so many Americans don’t want to discuss. However, this is a conversation that we have to have in America. There are many people in the country suffering from mental illnesses. I know for a fact in the African-American community that I grew up in; anything related to mental health is a taboo subject that people don’t discuss.

The mere mention of someone talking about mental health will immediately be swept under the rug. I mean my parents are well aware that my step-brother has a serious issue and needs to be medicated. Speaking from the perspective of a psychology major who focused on abnormal psychology and personality psychology, he suffers from fits of rage at times. If things don’t go his way he loses it. What is worst is his mother seems to fail to acknowledge that a problem exists.

I’m sorry, this kid is troubled and the fact that you refuse to even see what is sitting right in front of you, places not only you but others in his presence in danger. I mean, when someone yells expletives, break things and then suddenly thinks all is well. Like he blacks out and thinks all is ok. Like who the hell does that? Someone who needs to be medically treated for his illness!

He was seeing a therapist, but I found it stunning that his doctor did not subscribe some sort of medication to treat whatever he suffers from. My gut tells me he might suffer from bipolar disease. The fact that he spaces out on things is a telling sign from what I’ve learned in psychology, but I’m not able to diagnose someone, so it would be nice for an actual doctor to diagnose what he suffers from so that actual precautions can be taken to ensure his mental health is being treated and he is not a danger to others.

When he has little outbursts, my step-mom wants to keep a lid on things. No, you can’t keep such behavior quiet, when the neighbors are aware of screaming matches and wondering what the hell is happening next door or across the street. You can’t throw stones at others, but when the conversation transitions to you son, you want everyone to be hush, hush. It does not work that way people. Have you ever heard the phrase: “You should never throw stones at a glass house?”

No, most people probably haven’t, but they should be aware that saying notes: that the person inside that house can visibly see the person who is throwing those stones. In short, don’t judge unless you’re ready to be judged by others. His latest incident was one that could not be ignored, I mean it was so outlandish, even I couldn’t believe it and things have not been the same since.

He tore my parent’s house apart and was getting slightly violent. In the process, he damaged some valuables and then thought things were a joke that was until the police was called and he found himself placed in handcuffs. Yeah, he didn’t like that one bit; it was like fear finally scared him a bit, to bad my step-mom didn’t take steps to ensure that treatment for his mental health became a priority. This is no joke, those that are mentally ill need treatment, and I’m certain he suffers from something, and ignoring the signs can lead to a situation where the unthinkable can happen.

The fear and the stigma that comes with talking about mental health must be demystified. Mental illness is something that impacts most Americans and many families. It should not be a secret that steps are being taken to ensure the mental health of those that we care about come front and center in a conversation that rarely takes place in most American homes.