How the stigma against mental illness affects those of us who struggle?
People need to know, that when they make negative comments, when they say things that are toxic, when they perpetuate stereotypes and stigmas, How much it can actually hurt those who are already struggling. People don’t realize how those comments can really affect how we feel. And how we go about our lives. And it can actually leave little scars on us inside.
The World Health Organization has estimated that 20% of the world’s population suffers from mental disorder at some point in their lifetime. So if we do the math, each one of us should know someone who suffers from a mental disorder.
How many of you suffer from, or know someone who suffers from, a mental illness? Well, think about it. Your family, your friends, your classmates in school, your colleagues at work.
We know that the stereotypes are wrong. And we know that all it takes is a supportive community. And reaching out to get help to make a difference. So, how does this really affect us? It changes the way that we feel about ourselves. This toxicity can cause us to act out of that and to be frustrated and angry. And it just perpetuates this horrible terrible cycle. And the worst of it, is that it slows us down from actually reaching out to get help. Because then we’re afraid of what people will think. ‘Oh they see a therapist. You know, shit’s not good for them.’ Or, ‘Oh they see a psychiatrist. That means they’re crazy.’ Or whatever people say.
We lack an understanding and awareness of what mental illness is, we are reluctant or ashamed to admit it, and mental illness is highly stigmatized. If we thought of mental illness like we do heart disease, then symptoms like depression would be like chest pain or anxiety would be like shortness of breath. If there were no stigma, we could launch a public health initiative against mental illness, like we have done before successfully such as with infectious diseases, with heart disease, with environmental toxins like asbestos, lead, and smoking.
Everybody gets anxious. But people don’t really understand. Be aware. Be cognizant of the things that come out of your mouth. Let’s not be mean to one another. We’re a community full of love and life. Stop people from talking poorly about it. Stop people from giving stereotypes out any more. We know that depression and anxiety are symptoms of a bigger issue. And something else that’s going on. It’s not always about that one thing people ‘see’. Or ‘talk about’ or ‘know about’.
People who are in emotional distress, are socially isolated. But nobody reach out to them for help. Instead, they are shunned, ridiculed, or feared. In some cases, families, friends do reach out to try and get their family members or friends help. But, in case of the families that do not consider mental illness to be a problem we have to make them understand that mental illnesses are real medical conditions and that we have effective treatments and these must be made available to people.
We need to start talking about it more. We need to start giving out the truth. And not perpetuating the lies. When we see somebody who’s emotionally distressed or acting strangely, or too often intoxicated for them we need to be involved, show our concern. This may help somebody to alleviate them from unnecessary suffering. Let’s help each other. Lets work together, As we break through the stigma. And work towards a healthy mind, and a healthy body.