Despite of what some argue, there is clear-cut evidence that mental illnesses are diseases,
no different from any other medical condition. unfortunately the misconceptions and stigmas placed on those suffering with mental health problems, often prevent them from seeking treatment. People are not only suffering from the symptoms of a disorder or disease, but from societies lack of willingness to accept that mental illness is a disease as well, leaving may individuals to suffer in silence. The stigma society places on this subject in turn, is preventing those suffering from reaching out to receive proper treatment, which could potentially be crucial in some cases where symptoms and conditions tend to worsen. People with life threatening diseases such as heart disease and cancer are willing and regularly seek treatment from doctors. They are admitted into hospitals, and treated most often with respect and they receive adequate care. I’ve never heard anyone with a broken leg tell me they have been criticized for seeking medical treatment, or for being hospitalized. How is this any different from those effected by depression seeking help from a psychiatrist or a psychotherapists? Is clinical depression not a life threatening disease? Are those suffering in silence not at extremely high risk for suicide? So why is it that when a person is to admitted to a hospital, or seeks help for a mental illness, which may potentially be life threatning, burdened by the stigma of mental illness?
The Truth About Mental Illness
Given the stigma placed on mental disorders, on top of the symptoms and challenges those struggling with these disorders face, many people are stereotyped, labeled, and looked down upon by society. Not only do they have to try their best to manage their symptoms, but to mask them as well. Many individuals are fearful when it comes to seeking help, and often hesitant to take advantage of opportunities that may define their qualify of life. Further more, those suffering are led to take on a self-stigma, based on societal views. Public stigmas frequently portray those suffering from mental illness as dangerous or violent people. Public stigma also includes prejudices, people agree with the belief and negative emotional reaction, and in turn are fearful of people with mental disorders. The behavior response to prejudice is discrimination against people. Therefore, people with mental health problems face discrimination in a variety of contexts such as employment, housing opportunities, access to healthcare, etc. So now due to the public stigma, this population suffers further from self-stigma. Many begin to label themselves, similarly to how society has labeled them, they begin to hold negative beliefs about themselves, such as feelings of weakness or incompetency. Many feel they are not “normal” and this will not be accepted by the general public. The natural response to widely held societal views is negative emotional reactions, including low-self esteem and low-self efficacy. Further more, the behavior response to discrimination and prejudice often ends in the individuals failure to pursue work and leaves them feeling hopeless, incapable and often undeserving of living a quality life.
These are not theories, these are facts. Educate yourselves and others on mental illness, spread awareness, join the movement to change the way society views mental health.
Either like this post, or share it so spread mental health awareness, and encourage those suffering in silence to break free of the stigma, and seek necessary help and support.