The Stigma of Mental Health

stig·ma

[ˈstigmə]

NOUN

a mark of disgrace associated with a particular circumstance, quality, or person “the stigma of mental disorder” ·

One of the main reasons why people don’t talk about mental health is the stigma.  It is a complex issue that you can’t see in an x-ray or fix with a cast like a broken leg.  To this day some people still don’t feel like it even exists.  It has long been associated with the violence of mass killings, suicides, mental institutions, and straitjackets.  

Thanks to the media and Hollywood it’s very hard not to think of this when mental illness is concerned. Stigma can affect people in different types of ways whether it’s self-stigma where you begin to believe the negative connotations about your illness or discrimination and prejudice all having a great effect on your work and social life making you feel isolated and worthless.

Yet many people with mental illnesses can still live long successful healthy lives by getting the help they specifically need. The stigma of mental health is still so prominent that sometimes it becomes very hard not to be consumed in what people will think of you and how they would treat you differently.  You become very scared that they will think of you as ” weird, crazy and unstable”. This in turn makes you internalize everything and want to hide it. You become ashamed, ashamed of what you are, who you are.

The hard thing to grasp is that mental illness doesn’t define you. It does not make you so don’t let it break you, you are more than your sickness and stronger than your suffering.  You didn’t choose to be well it’s something that nobody chooses. In all honestly, it is nothing to be ashamed of.  You are not a bad person because of it. However, this is something you have to come to realize on your own, you have to understand that yes you may be different from others but you still deserve to live a happy life, free from judgment too.

And for those of you who don’t understand what it feels like to live with a mental illness. Don’t judge, don’t assume.  Have some compassion. No one mental illness case is like another there are tons of factors that make someone who they are. Take time to know that person they are more than just an illness.  Just by changing one thing like not using words like crazy, nutter or psycho can make you much more sensitive to the issue.

 

On a wider scale, we need an accurate representation of mental illness in the media and Hollywood and things like depression and anxiety should be taught and openly discussed in schools but thankfully there are many organizations out there that are working towards the goal of breaking the stigma. 

Unfortunately, many people do miss out on jobs or are wrongfully treated just because they have an illness. People must know that it is not okay.  People must know that it is not okay.  If you or anyone you know has suffered from discrimination because of an illness or you would just simply like to get more information on the matter then check out the links below.

https://www.ispn-psych.org/mental-health-links

https://welllifetherapyllc.com/mental-health-links

 

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