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Why Do We Judge Mental Illness?

Updated on May 12, 2020
Kaitleigh profile image

Kaitleigh is a writer from Chicago, IL and a dedicated mental health advocate. She has been writing for over 10 years.

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Why judge those who are different? Are they less human than anyone else? Do some people just judge out of the fear of their own insecurities? Is it sometimes just easier to dismiss everything and pretend?

I think and analyze a lot about how and why certain things happen. These types of questions and behaviors constantly have me (and probably many others) stumped as to why others choose to judge those who are different from them.

Why has mental illness become something that we can’t or that we are not supposed to talk about? Some see mental illness better kept as a secret. They might believe that it would be better for those types of issues to be left unsaid and to never be brought up or dealt with. They might also believe by not talking about mental illness or by recognizing the issue that they are probably doing the person struggling with the illness a favor. In reality, those who have chosen to dismiss mental illness and avoid the topic completely may only be avoiding and helping one person: Themselves. Not necessarily the person struggling with the illness. Those with such reactions may feel awkward, ashamed, or embarrassed that these types of issues are so close to them.

They might say things like or similar to, “No, don’t mention that. We don’t want to talk about so and so and their struggles.”

When people have this type of reaction or treat mental illness as a horrible thing, it comes off that they ashamed or embarrassed of the mentally ill. These reactions and attitudes towards these conditions ultimately hurt those who struggle every day, especially if these types of reactions are ones that happen within the family or from those who are close to them. Did you know that mental illness occurs in every family and every person? From stress, to anxiety, to depression, and schizophrenia, every person has and is going to experience some type of mental illness in their lifetime. Mental illness is not as rare as we once thought and it should never be considered as a sign of weakness.

Those who live with mental health conditions are not choosing to suffer and it is not possible for them to just change their thinking or snap out of it. It takes a great deal of understanding and support towards those who live with a mental illness for them to feel accepted. Once society becomes more educated about mental health conditions, they may no longer see it as a weakness or a flaw. The fear and misunderstanding may be lifted from those who once weren’t familiar with such illnesses and also from those who are struggling. Everyone should try to keep an open mind, listen without judging, and educate themselves further about mental illness. If we successfully recognize and understand the struggles of those who live with these conditions, we will conquer and overcome the unnecessary stigma that is attached to these illnesses and also save many lives in the process.


This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2011 Kaitleigh

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