Mental illness can strike anyone! It knows no age, race, economic status, color or creed. During the course of a year, more than 54 million people across the globe are affected by one or more mental health disorders. But then why does the mental health stigma still exists?
Why is Mental Health Important?
Don’t Be Afraid to Talk About Your Mental Health. Why? Because talking openly about mental health is a good thing. Mental health is no different than physical health. If you have or think you have a mental disorder, it does not mean you are weak. It does not mean you are unintelligent or “broken.” Would you call a cancer patient “weak?” Would you get mad at someone with cancer for not “trying hard enough” to make the disease go away? Never.
In the same vein, mental disorders are not issues which can be simply “wished away.” Talking about mental health in a healthy way is something that societies across the globe have historically struggled with. Let’s describe mental health as a level of psychological well-being. A person who is able to enjoy and experience life without the interruption of a documented social disorder can be said to be “mentally healthy.” Because of the social stigma attached to having a mental disorder, many people live with excessive anxiety, depression, fear, and other crippling disorders that impede their ability to live ‘normally.’
Mental disorders, like physical disorders, do not define who you are. There is nothing “weak” about seeking medical advice or being tested for a medical disorder. If you had a back injury and couldn’t move, you wouldn’t just ‘wait until it went away.’ You’d get help.
It is incredibly important to throw social stigma out the window when talking about mental health.
7 Effective ways to Diffuse Mental Health Stigma
When such false beliefs inflame stigmatizing attitudes, regardless of the form, they significantly affect the emotional and social life of individuals suffering from mental disorders. This not only lengthens their recovery process but also prevents them from talking about their problems and seeking medical help. Therefore, it is crucial to fight the mental health stigma. Here are some ways that can help change people’s outlook.
- Refrain it from making a social taboo: Talking openly about the mental health problems will create a stand where people can honestly discuss their struggles with mental health disorders. This provides an opportunity to convey to those suffering in silence that they are not alone and that help is available.
- Stay informed and spread awareness: When someone misrepresents mental illnesses, most people prefer looking the other way or staying silent. However, to reduce the brunt of the stigma, it is important to express how such beliefs affect a person and the need to spread awareness.
- Avoid using stigmatizing language: The human language is continually changing and evolving and so have the applications of words, such as “insane,” “nuts,” and “mental” when referred to someone with a mental illness. Unfortunately, portraying mental illnesses through adjectives labels the individual and does no good in improving the situation.
- Treat both mental health and physical disorders equally: Just like physical disorders, mental illnesses are brain disorders that can develop in anybody. The need of the hour is to treat mental disorders like other chronic illnesses, such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, etc., to ensure effective treatment.
- Choose not to be a victim: Stigmatization leads to discrimination and oppression of people with mental disorders. However, it is also possible to lead a life very different from the decadent view of mental disorders by simply honoring one’s choice to lead an empowered life by seeking treatment.
- Need to alert media: The depiction of mental health issues by the media has so far been like a double-edged sword. Many a time, they’ve helped spread public awareness about mental health, yet at times they’ve also inaccurately portrayed mental illnesses. Therefore, it is important to alert media platforms about the ill effects of using stigmatizing language as both their media coverage and the consequences of wrongfully addressing mental health issues are far-reaching.
- Talk about treatment and recovery: An uninformed and ignorant person may harbor apprehensions about mental health treatment. He or she may fear being judged as a weak person on visiting a psychiatrist or taking medications. When people who have recovered from their problems through medical interventions talk about their recovery, they have an opportunity to inform others. In the end, seeking treatment for mental disorders does not make a person weak. In fact, it represents his or her courage and will to get better.
Dealing with Mental Health Stigma
Mental health stigma can affect various aspects of one’s life. At its worst, it can lead to self-criticism wherein the person blames himself or herself for his or her condition. In such cases, stigmatization becomes an active ongoing risk factor for the disorder that prevents an individual from seeking the required help from others.
If you or your loved one is experiencing the symptoms of mental disorders, it is important to seek help. Cadabam’s Hospitals assists in gaining access to the finest mental health treatment centers in Bangalore that specializes in delivering evidence-based intervention plans. Call at our 24/7 helpline number 9741476476 to know more about treatment options available near you.
In addition to psychological treatment, there are many alternative methods available to help with excessive stress, depression, and anxiety. Meditation has a long tradition of helping individuals calm their minds, bodies, and spirit in a natural and soothing manner. Contact us to learn more.