Stopping the stigma

Stressing the awareness of mental health

By The Connection Staff

Mental illness has long been a taboo in the eyes of the American populous. With stigmas and stereotypes that negatively impact the view of those that suffer from these internal diseases, a victim may not feel safe to gain help due to fear of judgment. Bringing awareness and educating those on this issue will change the views of these very real diseases.

According to mayoclinic.org, the definition of a mental illness is a disorder that is generally characterized by dysregulation of mood, thought and/or behavior, as recognized by the diagnostic and statistical manual. Mood disorders are among the most persuasive of the mental illnesses. They can make a person’s interest not be relevant anymore and make what makes a person sad be more apparent than before. Most people who do not have these illnesses do not understand how they affect a person.

Many citizens face mental health problems and may not admit to it. According to mentalhealthconnection.org, 42.5 million adults suffer from some type of mental illness, or approximately 18.2 percent. Of those 42.5 million adults, 9.3 million are impacted every single day by their mental illness to a point where they cannot complete their daily activities. But it’s not just adults that are affected by mental illness; in fact suicide is the third leading cause of death in young people from 10 to 24 years old. The Huffington post states that 40.3 percent of adolescents have suffered from episodes of mental illness in last 12 months.

There are often stigmas that come with mental illness from both strangers and the person it effects. Strangers do not always understand the struggle that individuals go through and judge them based on stereotypes. The impacts and reality of mental illness need to be brought into the public eye more to enlighten people that mental illness is no longer taboo. Many do not realize that stereotypes and judgments negatively impact people who have mental health problems. Those affected with a psychological disorder suffer enough internally with the daily battle of working through their illness. With the judgment of others, their lives become even harder.

These stigmas are often caused by several factors. Violence, is the top stigma facing public belief. According to treatmentadvocacycenter.org, 46 percent of respondents believe people with serious mental illness are more dangerous than those lacking mental illnesses. People often believe that violence is a side effect with those suffering from mental illnesses. People will exclude those with mental illnesses out of fear, belief that they lack responsibility and are childish. Because of fear and a lack of understanding, these factors cause the public stigma that can lead to many misunderstandings or negative feelings towards those that face these illnesses.

Mental illness has a long history of being stigmatized. Millions of people all around the world suffer from these internal battles, no ethnicity or social class are exempt. This is problematic, since those suffering from a mental health problem are less likely to seek help if they feel shame for having an illness in the first place.

In order to reduce this stigma, it’s important to remember that the individual must be able to understand the values contained in themselves. If one believes in themselves, they can achieve any goal they put their mind to. In addition, it’s important to be aware of one’s attitude and behaviors. Everyone can change the way they think, and become more open to ideas proposed by other people. Be sure to spread positivity as often as possible. Positivity is contagious. However, the most important thing to keep in mind is supporting those in need. A combination of all those factors will make for a happier society.

Bringing awareness to the mental health problems that people face and educating the general populous is the first step to changing the taboo that is linked to this issue within society. The next step is to allow those that suffer from a mental illness to receive treatment and support through therapy and medical treatment. Mental and physical health are both equally important to the overall well-being of an individual and should be cared for in every way possible. Mental illness is not a taboo, it is simply a disease that effects a real person who deserves fair treatment.

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