Stigmatizing Mental Illness
First, this isn’t an informative article, if you want to know what are mental illnesses and how they are medically treated, Google it, there are plenty of websites that talks about this issue.
I’m just going to talk about how we treat people with ‘serious’ mental disorders and mostly depression. I highlighted the ’’serious’’ cause of the -omg I’m so depressed I can’t stop watching series- and the -I’m so bipolar and crazy lol haha- , no you’re not, you’re just an indecisive kid seeking for attention. Depression isn’t a day long down feeling, it’s an insidious, gradual and inexorable illness we don’t realize the scope of its life-threatening power until we’re drowning under its wave, and if you really were bipolar, you wouldn’t be bragging about it all over the internet because it’s absolutely terrifying.
Mental illness is already neglected in our society, we don’t see it as a disorder but more like a state of mind that will eventually fade away and these attention seekers make it harder for people with real mental disorder to express what they feel and get help because they’ll be categorized as showoffs. Since we don’t care about mental health we can notice the real lack of medical attention regarding the issue, there is nearly no psychologists, psychoanalysts nor psychiatrists in our cities so we tend to either neglect it or ask non experienced people for help.
Mental illness. Two words we tend to link with violence and danger when in fact it people affected by it are more at risk of being attacked or harming themselves than harming other people, so it causes people to cast judgment or turn away. It is, perhaps, the ultimate example of a stigma. Society probably spends more time trying to ignore mental illness than to understand it. And that’s not easy to do given how many people mental illness affects.
As I said, Stigma and discrimination can worsen someone’s mental health problems and impede their getting help, treatment and recovery. We’re a judging society by all means, we gravitate towards framing issues to make them look understandable and easier because it’s just what we do. Someone’s tried to commit suicide? Such a coward non-believer who lost faith in god, another one escaped home? He’s probably a drug addict and a troublemaker.
To sum up, we need a dialogue to de-stigmatize mental illness, and the best way to do that is to enable people to realize that it is something they literally face every day. Perhaps if we come together and work together we can create a national conversation and further de-stigmatize mental illness.
© 2017 Amine Makroum Talbi