Why are people so oblivious to the world of mental health?
You wouldn’t think I would still have to be making these posts in 2016 but apparently, people still believe that mental health should not be talked about and if they just ignore it, it won’t affect them. This is an incredibly selfish outlook on life but sadly, one that many people seem to have.
We should be encouraging that it is ok to talk about mental health instead of dismissing it as being an “irrelevant problem”. Recent studies have shown that one third of time taken off work per year is due to mild to moderate depression, therefore increasing the amount of sick pay that has to be given. The fact that this many people have to take time off work is just awful and the government should be doing so much more in order to compensate for poor mental health. Also, this is just the people who have opened up about their mental health problems so this isn’t even taking into account those that feel the need to keep it a secret due to society and the norm of believing that it is “attention seeking” behaviour.
1 in 4 people will experience a mental health problem at some point in their lives and despite many people with mental illnesses being able to recover fully or finding a way to live with their illness, there is a strong stigma attached to poor mental health which can dangerously affect the life of someone with a mental illness. It has been proven that social stigma and discrimination that mentally ill people experience makes it even more difficult for them to be able to recover.
Of course, it wouldn’t be right if the media weren’t enforcing the stigma too, often portraying mentally unwell people as having violent and criminal behaviour however this is far from the case, it is actually been proven that those who are mentally unwell are usually the victim of crimes instead of the criminal.
More importantly, how do we challenge this stigma?
- Learn and share facts about mental health and illness – make people aware.
- Get to know people who have experienced ill mental health.
- Offer the same support to someone who is mentally unwell as you would to someone who is physically ill – get ready for a post about this soon!
- Do not put labels on or judge someone with a mental illness, they deserve the same respect as you would give anyone else.
- Don’t discriminate, whether it’s something as simple as being in school and choosing who is going to be in your group project to hiring someone in a job.
- Talk openly of your mental illness – the more secrecy, the more people will believe that it is shameful and needs to be concealed.
Overall, it is important to emphasise that nobody should be prevented by society from getting the help that they deserve and need.