There are perhaps many reasons why mental health conditions come with a stigma, but these are the most common reasons:
Not a lot of people are open to talking about it.
It can be very difficult to open up about an issue that is constantly made out to be a negative thing. Who would want to be open and honest about having a problem that will only result in being judged? Discussing mental health openly is the only way to spread further awareness and for it to be seen that it’s not such a bad thing after all. The more it’s spoken about and understood, the more others may be willing to talk about it as well.
Mental illness is viewed as a weakness.
Many may think or view mental illness as a weakness. It’s an illness, not a weakness or a personality flaw. Those who live with a mental illness often possess many positive and artistic strengths such as higher IQ’s, increased creativity (writing, art, music, etc), and greater empathy and compassion.
Mental illness is portrayed negatively in the media.
From the news, to articles, and in movies, mental illness has been labeled and seen as a crazy disease and whoever has one, must, in fact, be flawed. In the media, people with mental illnesses are often highlighted or portrayed as violent criminals, but did you know that those who live with a mental illness are actually more likely to be the victim of a crime? In today’s society, people are greatly influenced by what is in the media and mental illness isn’t the only issue that is misunderstood or stereotyped. It’s all in how the brain operates. There is no choice or fault.
Some may be ashamed or are in denial of their own mental health.
Some may feel embarrassed due to the stigma and how others may view and react to mental illnesses. As a result, those with mental illness may not feel comfortable talking about it. No one wants to viewed as the person who has a problem or to be thought of as less of a person for it especially when it’s not true. The best thing to do for a person with mental illness is to listen and let them know that it is okay to talk about it.
Mental health isn’t seen as an important issue in our society and isn’t taken seriously.
There are not enough people to stand up for this particular issue in our society. Not enough people see this as an issue which is unfortunate because everyone will or has experienced some form of mental health issue. Anxiety, mood disorders, depression, eating disorders, and addictions, are some examples of common mental health issues.
Some may lack understanding and knowledge on the issue.
There are many who just lack overall knowledge on the issue. Some judge out of fear because they simply don’t understand it. Maybe informing or helping to educate others is the answer.
So, how can we overcome the stigma?
We should improve education, research, and try to change the outlook on mental health. Most of all, we must continue to reach out, speak out, and promote awareness. By doing this, we can save so many lives and help so many more people.