14 Jun Mental Health 101: Breaking The Stigma
Mental health is a topic on the rise nowadays. Many people started becoming aware of it and it is clear that society is becoming more capable of fulfilling the needs of those who are mentally unwell. However, a lot is still highly uneducated about mental health issues, and to keep up with the trend, assumptions are made based on their own beliefs and way of thinking. This leads to a false perception towards those who are suffering from mental illnesses even to those who are highly advocating the cause.
What is Mental Health Stigma?
Before diving into deep, what is actually a stigma? Stigma is a mark of shame that distinguishes a person from others due to their differences. Once they are set in society, it can be difficult to break or overcome them as they become a part of people’s mindset. The sad thing about stigmas is that the victims are often not seen as individuals but labelled and treated as a part of a stereotyped group. In this case a part of those who are living with mental health conditions.
Mental health stigmas are public disapproval of mentally ill patients. Often coming from the nearest ones, for instance, family, friends or relatives, these stigmas are highly pressuring and bothersome to the victims. According to the Mental Health Foundation, nearly 9 out of 10 people with a mental illness feel the effect of stigma and acknowledged that discrimination negatively impacts their lives.
Things You Assume About Mental Health Patient That Could Be Wrong
There are a lot of stigmas that are going around in society today. The list below are a few of the many assumptions made about people who are mentally unwell and the actual fact about it:
1. People who are mentally ill are in lack of religious activities
This is a stigma that is found to be roaming around religious countries like India, Indonesia and many more. When it comes to religious activities, for those who actually have a belief, there are indeed some positive effects. Participating in religious communities can provide a sense of belonging as well as structure. Yet, on the other side, there are also some negative effects of religion on mental health. Such as the feeling of unworthiness and social pressure.
However, no matter what the effects are, it is important to recognize that spiritual health and mental health, like physical health and spiritual health, are two distinct parts of life. While both subjects are directly proportional to one another, its effect on the other is relatively slight and scarce on a normal basis. Researches done on this case as well prove that the correlation between spirituality and mental health depends on various aspects and can’t be seen literally from one individual to the other.
As a result, it can be concluded that the act of “perceiving someone who is unwell mentally is lacking of religious engagement” is not a wise action to take.
2. People who are mentally ill are crazy
This is a stigma that has been the alarming cause of fearing mental health patients thinking that they are uncontrollable and unpredictable. Mentally ill individuals are vulnerable and are dealing with an illness with challenging symptoms. At some point, there are cases of detaching from reality or react “violently” to some conditions. However, that is normal as being a human means we are susceptible to sickness and illness, physically and mentally. If you are not a medical professional, all that is needed to face those patients are understanding and patience.
When it comes to crimes and wrongdoings, the National Alliance of Mental Illness mentioned that only 5% of violent crimes in the United States are done by people with serious mental illness.
Therefore, there is no need in being afraid of mental health patients as they are as human as others are.
Harmful Effects of Mental Health Stigma
Mental health stigmas can make it difficult for those suffering from mental illnesses to seek professional help, integrate into society, and live happy and comfortable lives. The following are negative effects of these stigmas:
- Unwillingness to seek professional assistance or treatment
- Less and restricted employment opportunities
- Increase in suicide rates
- Suppress the recovery of mental health patients.
- Social isolation
Breaking the mental health stigma is indeed a long way to go. Yet with just learning and educating other people with what they need to know, the stigmas put on mental health will gradually collapse.
Want to know more about physical health? Check this out: Healthy Food You Should Eat Daily and 5 Things Parents Need to Do to Ensure Children’s Health in the Future.