A Deep Dive Into The Stigma Of Mental Illnesses
"Hearing hurtful comments will make people afraid to ever seek out assistance..."
As a young adult enrolled in college and dealing with a vast amount of responsibilities, we have all dealt with things like anxiety. At times the anxiety could worsen and lead to panic attacks or even worse, depression.
See, the issue with this is that most people tend to suppose that this happens to everyone at some point in their life, and partially that is true.
There are certain stages in life where there is a drastic transition and it becomes difficult for people to balance or deal with it. But, there are people that truly deal with mental illnesses and there is sometimes no explanation for it.
To give you some case studies, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, "Approximately one in five adults in the U.S.—43.8 million, or 18.5 percent—experiences mental illness in a given year."
You might look at those numbers and say, "Wow that is a lot of people, how come I never notice it?" Because of something called stigma.
The Mayo Clinic defines stigma as, "When someone views you in a negative way because you have a distinguishing characteristic or personal trait that's thought to be, or actually is, a disadvantage (a negative stereotype)."
Stigma can make people reluctant and afraid to seek help or treatment. People are afraid because stigma can lead to discrimination. Stigma can even lead you to judge yourself at times.
Frankly, being close with a lot of people that have dealt with things like eating disorders, and depression, they have gotten responses from people, such as their own parents, asking questions like, "What did you do to cause this is eating disorder?," or "Why are you depressed?" Or worse, hearing statements like "get over it," or "there's bigger problems in life." Subtle comments like that are why people are reluctant to come out and ask for help.
This situation tends to be a complication with males.
Some believe that if they show that they are in need or display a little bit of emotion, it will crush their masculinity. Which is not true because we are all humans and are supposed to show emotion, and there are times which we will need to ask someone for a hand.
Then there are some that believe if they show they are in need or display a little bit of emotion, they will be mocked or scrutinized for it.
In the Somali community which I was raised in, every time the topic of mental health came up, people would brush it off and say things like, "It is not true," or "That person is crazy." Hearing hurtful comments like that will make people afraid to ever seek out assistance and will result in them judging themselves and asking, maybe there is something wrong with me?
Do not ever let this affect you.
It is disappointing that there is stigma surrounding mental illness, and we need to do more about, because these false beliefs can cause significant problems.