The Mental Health Stigma In Our Society

1353 words - 5 pages

Imagine society blamed people for being diagnosed with illnesses such as cancer? Claiming that it was their choices in life that led to such an awful disease. To make them feel guilty of a situation that was in no way deserved by them. This happens all the time to victims of mental illness, but with the added burden of shame. Considering the shocking statistic that one in four will experience some kind of mental health problem in the course of a year in the UK , why is it that we hardly hear of people suffering from mental illness? Why is it a cloud of judgment and misunderstanding still surrounds the subject? People with a mental disorder or with a history of mental health issues are continually ostracized by society. This results in it being more difficult than it already is for the mentally ill to admit their symptoms to others and to seek treatment. To towards understanding mental illness is to finally lift the stigma, and to finally let sufferers feel safe and accepted within today’s society.
There are many ways in which the mentally ill are degraded and shamed. Most commonly, people are stated to be “depressed” rather than someone who “has depression”. It is a common perception that mental illnesses are not a priority when it comes to Government spending just as it is forgotten that most mental health disorders can be treated and lead a normal life if treatment is successful. The effect of this makes a sufferer feels embarrassed and feel dehumanized. A common perception is that they should be feared or looked down upon for something they have not caused. People experience stigma as a barrier that can affect nearly every aspect of life—limiting opportunities for employment, housing and education, causing the loss of family and friends. It can also affect self-image when someone submits to the negative views held by others: also known as self-stigma . Many myths and misconceptions contribute to stigma. A common one—sometimes perpetuated by the media—is that people with mental illnesses are typically violent. In truth, those living with mental illness are much more likely to be victimized by acts of crime, hate and discrimination than to perpetrate them.
Mental illnesses are some of the most misunderstood afflictions in today’s society. Too many people think of mental illness as a “weakness”. Like most illnesses, biological, psychological, and environmental factors are taken into consideration in diagnosis. The more severe mental illnesses are primarily diseases of the brain that cause distorted thinking, feelings, or behavior. In the cases of certain illnesses such as schizophrenia, a person’s actions are completely justified to themselves. Their distorted perception of reality allows them to experience extremely paranoid thoughts. These victims of such illness should not be subject to the added torture of judgment from the people surrounding them or the passive derogatory label of ‘schit’. People should be more aware and careful in the...

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