STIGMA AROUND MENTAL ILLNESSES

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The stigma of mental health is still prevalent in the society where millions of people struggle with mental illnesses and millions die every year because of the lack of attention mental health issues are given.

To most people, mentally ill means ‘crazy’ or ‘psychotic’- which not what the reality is. ‘Crazy’ and ‘psychotic’ people are mentally ill, but they are not the only ones who are. Often, people die due to undiagnosed mental illnesses as their families and friends just assume they can ‘get over it’ and function normally given time- all while the person suffers in silence. Whenever people show symptoms of a mental disorder, they are shut down or accused of wanting attention or told that they are lying and their condition is invalid. Is not being able to function normally and have a good life ‘asking for attention’? I wouldn’t think so.

How difficult it is to acknowledge that people with mental are actually suffering and don’t do things just for attention?

People with cancer and heart conditions are taken care of, and we acknowledge that they have a life altering illness. We bring them flowers, we pray that they recover. But what happens if the same person is suffering from a psychological condition? They are subjected to shame and silence. Families and friends try to hide the person’s illness, as if it is something nobody should know about, something the person should be sorry for having.

People with physical and visible illnesses are termed as ‘brave’ even after they die because they fought against their disease, whereas if a person with psychological problems commits suicide, they are called selfish for taking their life. Nobody thinks about how the person might have struggled with their own brains every day. We look down upon them all the time- even after their death.

This attitude towards mentally ill people needs to be stopped. No one deserves to be humiliated because of something they have no control over. An illness is an illness- whether it is an illness of heart or lungs or brain- and people who struggle with them deserve to be taken care of without any bias.

INTRODUCTION

I’ve read and heard a lot about the stigma of mental health in the whole world- how people with mental illness are ridiculed, how they are forced to feel ashamed of their illness, how some movies demonize people who suffer with mental disorders, how people don’t believe them when they say they are actually suffering  and the all in all lack of awareness about mental health topics.

So I decided maybe I should try and tell more people about these topics so that they understand, to some extent, that mental health is a very important issue and we need to work on educating people about it.

Mental Health needs a great deal of attention. It’s the final taboo and it needs to be faced and dealt with.

-Adam Ant