Mental Health Awareness - The Truth About Mental Illness
Another warm welcome to another hub addressing mental illness. I want to start off by thanking all of you for reading and I hope my hub helps you and I will apologise in advance if at any point it seems erratic, I will do my best to make it as good as I can.
In this hub we will explore the truth behind mental illness, people suffering from it and the facts as well as the stigma, hate and abuse people within the care system receive (patients) There is a lot of stigma around mental health conditions and when you ask the people that discriminate they cannot name the first thing about any mental health condition. In this case, ignorance is not bliss.
The Basic Facts Everyone Needs to Know!
- One in Ten young people will experience a mental health problem.
- 63% of adults know someone with a mental health problem.
- One in four people in Britain will experience a mental health problem each year.
- Almost half of all mental patients experience stigma or hate at least once a month.
- The majority of crimes are committed by people WITHOUT a mental health problem.
- People with mental health problems only pose a very small threat to the public.
- People who suffer from mental health issues often try to cover up their illness or symptoms out of fear others will judge them.
- Most people are afraid to talk about their mental health.
- Many patients feel unable to tell their family, friends or employers.
- Mental illness cannot be controlled, helped or cured.
Have you ever suffered from a Psych problem and felt unable to talk about it?
Who has a mental health problem?
Anyone at any given time in their lives can suffer from a mental health problem. Mental health conditions come in many different forms and are often caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain or by genetics. If you have a family member who has suffered from a form of Psychosis, there is an increased risk you or someone you love may also suffer even if it is not the same form. I will go on to explain Psychosis in the segment below.
One in four British people suffer a mental health problem each year. Most are between the ages of 16-30 years old when symptoms usually start. Children can also suffer from mental health problems, however it is much less common. Men and women are both affected. Anyone of any race, gender, religion, orientation or status can suffer from a mental health condition.
You cannot tell someone has a mental health problem just by looking at them, nor can you catch it. They may also feel unable to talk about it.
What is NOT a mental health problem/ illness/ a form of Psychosis:
- Transgender people.
- Aspergers Syndrome
- Dressing a certain way e.g. gothic.
- Having tattoo's, body piercings, plastic surgery, etc.
- Having no friends.
- Dyslexia, Dyscalculia/ other learning disability.
What is Psychosis?
Psychosis is a serious form of psychological illness where a person may have lost touch with reality or is experiencing acute symptoms. There are many forms of Psychosis including:
- Bipolar Disorder
- Obsession/ OCD
People often hear the word Psychosis or Psychotic and automatically picture a serial killer, someone in a straitjacket or someone running around naked speaking in tongues. This is not the case for the majority of people. Psychosis affects people very differently even if they have the same illness and rarely pose a danger to other people. A lack of understanding leads to fear so I am going to give some general symptoms of psychosis:
- Hearing voices, music or sounds in the head, atmosphere or ears when fully awake.
- Delusions - unusual or distorted beliefs.
- Hallucinations - seeing things, colours, shapes, tastes, smells or touch.
- Social withdrawal
- Outbursts of anger, hyperactive behaviour or sadness.
- Poverty of speech - rapid talking, very slow talking, mixing words or languages.
- Freezing in odd, frightening or forced positions and not moving for a period of time; minutes or hours.
- Sudden decline in personal hygiene e.g. refusing to wash hair, not shaving body hair, starting to smell/ not bathing as they did before.
- Losing interest in things they once enjoyed or losing pleasure in life.
- Talking about death.
- Doing things they wouldn't normally do e.g. intimate relations with strangers, blowing loads of money, coming up with lots of new and brilliant ideas they can't achieve.
- Disorganised speech, behaviour or lifestyle that was previously good.
Psychosis is not a threatening or frightening word as it sounds. It is a word used to describe multiple symptoms and conditions a person may be having. Some people who suffer from Psychosis CAN be violent or dangerous, however the majority are not and some are not upset or distressed by their symptoms at all.
Psychosis is not caused by hormone imbalances and it is not a controllable health problem. People with Psychosis in the early stages often don't notice their symptoms and don't realise something is wrong. People suffering are normal people and are capable of physically doing most things the same as anyone else would.
STOP THE STIGMA FACTS!
- People with a mental illness are nearly always capable of working.
- People with a mental health problem only pose a very small risk to other people.
- Not all people with mental health conditions are on medication and often do not need hospital treatment.
- People with a mental illness are still human beings with thoughts and feelings and are perfectly understanding your behaviour towards them.
- People with a mental illness are not stupid.
- Mental Illness isn't a term used for lazy people.
- People with mental illness are nearly always safe around animals.
- People with a mental illness are more likely to become upset or behave strangely towards or around you if you show them stigma.
- People with mental illness KNOW most people will show stigma and discrimination against them.
The Stigma against Mental Health
The word Mental is a horrible word for most people. Psychological health is a much nicer, friendlier term to use. Often people heard the words mental health and assume the worst. They feel fear, anxiety and even hatred towards the person fearing they may do something dangerous, upsetting, crazy or they will be witness to their symptoms. While it can be very frightening, the person suffering is just the same as you or anyone else. They are a human being with thoughts and feelings and need people to be kind and understanding. The best way to avoid stigma is to be knowledgeable. Learn more about Psychological health and it won't seem so scary.
Why do people suffer stigma?
Simply from lack of understanding, the spread of hate and fear. The media doesn't help bringing mental illness up in a bad light, making a joke of it or plastering it to every criminal they see. Mental illness has always been shown as a terrible, negative thing and in some aspects it is, but treating someone poorly or in a negative manner isn't going to help anybody, especially not them and it will probably make them worse.
Speaking as a Schizophrenic, I know what it's like to lose my job, my friends avoid me, people refuse to speak to me and other things due to my condition. It is horrible and unfair, I have been kicked out of jobs I was doing well at because of ignorance. People hear the word mental and they instantly want to throw you under the bus, they will try to force you out of the work place, out of school, away from other people and into isolation. They don't understand anything about mental health problems and assume the person is dangerous. The level of bullying towards myself and other people I know with different issues is more than you can imagine and being treated like a criminal or an animal doesn't make anyone feel any better.
What happens if someone is discriminating against you?
Based on a mental health issue, you can take it up with the employer, the human resources department or even the police. A hate crime, bullying or anything else over a mental health problem can have charges pressed against them.
If your employer is trying to usurp you based on this they are probably not the type of person you want to be working for in the first place. Not only are they damaging you, they are damaging their own personal image and the image of the company and it needs to be taken further.
You can also try to educate the people that are discriminating against you and take POSITIVE ACTIONS by spreading awareness, keeping people updates, opening a page or a group on Facebook or writing blogs/articles that can help inform people. If you can inform even just one person then it is one more person that knows the truth.
The Media VS Mental Illness:
The media is a massive culprit of portraying Mental Illness in a negative light. They label most criminals as being mentally ill, want to send everybody for psychological assessments and put mental illness and serial killers in the same boat. It is often used as an excuse for poor actions, speech or behaviours and is taken very lightly.
Television plays a role in making a mockery of mental illness promoting words like "psycho" or "crazy" or "cuckoo" and other such offensive words to describe people that are behaving erratically or abnormally but are rarely exhibiting any symptoms of Psychosis. E.g. a possessive boyfriend keeps calling and texting his girlfriend and texts all of her friends about her. His is not a sign of mental illness, this is a fairly common, normal experience that most people will deal with at some point in their lives. TV makes a joke of mental illness as do the papers and magazines and we should all work together to put an absolute stop. People take pleasure in watching someone with a mental illness run amok and kill people, take drugs, go crazy or be locked in a mental hospital and automatically view everyone that has a mental health problem this way. This is not even close to being true.
I really hope this hub has spread some awareness and insight into the mental health community. Just because someone has a mental illness, it doesn't mean they are a danger to themselves or other people. You may have someone working for you or be working with/ under someone with a form of Psychosis and you don't even realise. You shouldn't treat someone poorly or as though you are walking on eggshells because of their condition, you wouldn't want someone to do it to you and you shouldn't want to make them feel bad about themselves or as though they no longer want to work for you/ be around you.
Getting educated and doing as much as you can to help people and treat them like a normal, regular human being is the best way forward. Boycotting stigma, discrimination and the mockery and shame against mental illness in the media is another way to help. If you feel strongly, do something about it and make a difference.
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