Mental Illnesses and Stigma
Stigma still exists when it comes to mental illness. Many people still want to explain away their loved one’s mental illness. Someone who may have a mood disorder is a “moody” person; someone suffering from depression is a “sad” or “angry” person. Or even worse, they are simply called wacky, crazy or nuts, but never mentally ill. You get my drift.
People are ashamed to call a mental illness by its proper name – giving it a diagnosis. There is still shame when it comes to labeling someone with an illness of the mind. Although people have come along way with accepting and dealing with mental illnesses, many people still don’t want the shame of stigma. Will this label prevent themselves or their loved one from leading a normal life? Will it scare off a future spouse, prevent them from getting a job, make life more challenging than it is already?
We are afraid to diagnose and/or acknowledge that we or a loved one has mental illness. We are worried about the shame and the perceived difficulty that may or may not occur as a result of a diagnosis. However, we are doing a disservice to ourselves or the person suffering and all the people that love them. Appropriately diagnosing someone with a mental illness is not “labeling”. Offering a diagnosis is often freeing for the sufferer and the people they love. Offering a diagnosis provides a name for their problem and, therefore, something that can be treated. Without properly providing a diagnosis, how can someone move forward and be treated?
There is no room for stigma in the world. We need to keep diagnosing mental illness so that we can treat people and offer them the appropriate help. This will allow them to live their best lives. People need to understand that ignoring mental illness ultimately is harmful, preventing a person from being properly diagnosed, from being treated and from living their fullest possible. life. Hiding illness, explaining it away, and not accepting it may prevent themselves or their loved one from leading a normal life. The label of mental illness palls in comparison to cause and unintended effects it may have. What good would it do to hide and not deal with depression or a schizophrenic diagnosis only to cause more harm down the line for the person?
There is no room for stigma in addressing mental health issues. There are so many more resources these days out there and help – we need to continue to educate people so that they can deal with their mental health and avoid worrying about the perceived stigma of mental illness.
Lets help turn stigma into an acronym.
M = ental health