Mental Illness has been labelled as taboo for too long. The negative stigma has resulted in many people being ostracised and left to suffer in silence. I am so glad that in recent years some of that stigma is changing. We are starting to acknowledge the importance of mental health in global development. As more people speak out against the injustices and discriminations faced by those with a mental illness and talk about their experiences, the more that stigma fades.
To help change that stigma, here are five simple but important things to remember about mental illness.
5 Things to Remember About Mental Illness
You Are Not Alone
I know that in moments of pain we feel alone. We feel like the world is against us and no one can understand our suffering. Especially when we feel ashamed to discuss what is going on. However, I am here to remind you that you are not alone. There are millions of people suffering and battling as well. There are people out there willing to help and provide support. So when you feel like you are alone in the dark, reach out and find that helping hand.
Every Person is Unique
We are all different and perceive the world differently. Just because I have the same diagnosis as you, it doesn’t mean the experience is the same. Not all persons will experience the same spectrum of symptoms, severity or duration. It is important to keep this in mind and not generalise each illness. Placing everything in a neat box is an easy way to cause misunderstandings. Remember to do your research and listen to each individuals needs.
Mental Illness is Real
Part of the stigma of mental illness is that it is not a real illness. Some believe that it is all in a persons head, that they are just faking it, it is their choice and they just want attention. If the body can get sick and require medical attention to heal then, why not the brain. The brain is the organ that houses the mind and susceptible to dysfunctions like any other organ. Mental illness is just as valid as physical illness. Persons suffering from one or the other deserve proper care and treatment. This mentality has resulting in many deaths from suicide by mental illnesses left untreated.
It is Not a Weakness
As stated previously, the brain like any organ of the body is susceptible to disorder. Whether that malfunction is due to genes or environment or both, it is certainly not a result of a weak will or character flaw.
You Can help
Fighting against long held stigma feels like an uphill battle at times but each tiny step is progress. The power is in our hands to help. There are many resources and information available that you can read, watch or listen to, to increase your awareness. You can make a difference by sharing that information with others, starting discussions and spreading facts. If you know or live with someone with a mental illness, you can be supportive by listening and showing compassion. You can also help them find professional help with your research skills.
I hope these reminders help bring even more awareness about mental illness. May this post spark curiosity in you to do your own research.
- Mental Illness: Signs, Symptoms and The Impact on Life Quality
- Why Mental Health is Important and Should be Spoken About
- 7 Effective Self Care Tips for Alleviating Anxiety
Thank you for reading.