Mental Health

Dismantling Social Stigmas Regarding Mental Health

The challenges of people suffering from mental health are doubling. They have to deal with the hardships of their ailment as well as face social stigma. Stigma is a mark that disgracefully sets individuals apart from others. This mark leads to stereotyping of individuals that later result in discrimination. Social stigma takes four behavioral forms: avoidance, segregated institutions or facilities, coercive treatment and withholding help. All these prejudice treatments increase the mental disorder stigma around affected individuals.


Mental Health Stigma Statistics:

• Out of ten youths, one is likely having a mental breakdown knowing or unknowingly. 

• On an annual basis, one out of four individuals is suffering from mental health problems.

• Over 450 million people worldwide are suffering from mental illness.

• In every set of ten people, nine experience stigmatization and discrimination from the society.

• People diagnosed with mental health problems are perceived more dangerous to themselves than others

• Many folks suffering from mental disorders fear opening up to their peers due to the stigmatization around mental illness.

• Social Stigma and discrimination attached to mental illness make it harder for mental health patients to recovery. 

• Both American and Western nations citizens have a high record of stigmatizing attitude towards mental illness. 

• Stigmatizing views about mental disorders are not confined to the uninformed public but also to the very educated mental health practitioners. 

• Severe mental health illness is linked to drug addiction or prostitution.

• Unlike physical health disorders, people suffering from mental health are perceived by the public to be in control of their disabilities.

Types Of Mental Disorders

When dealing with mental health issues you are likely to face the following problems:

• Depression: 

• Schizophrenia

• Personality disorder

• Obsessive-compulsive disorder

• Anxiety

• Eating disorder

• Bipolar


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You can choose to curb social stigma around mental health problems by educating, protesting or making contact with the public through the following ways: 

1. Creating Awareness To The Public

When dealing with mental health issues and stigmatization, the first step is to educate the public on mental disorders. Education provides information to the general public so that they can make a sound judgment on matters concerning mental disorder. Create awareness by challenging respectfully prejudiced individuals that have stereotype thoughts around people suffering from mental health. You can state facts to counter attack their misconception. Educate the public to see the person and not their mental state. This can be done by changing how the media portrays the mentally ill. By doing so, we will be putting a stop to the negative image of the mentally ill on social media as well as telling the public not to believe everything they see or hear from the press. 


2. Be Conscious Of Your Language

Avoid using demeaning words such as 'pyscho,' lunatic or retard when describing an individual suffering from mental health issues. Use of such words increases mental disorder stigma making it hard for the person to be accepted by the society. Show compassion and empathy for individuals living with mental health issues by using positive words that uplift their spirits. 


3. Talking Openly About Mental Health

Mental illness is regarded as a giant secret even though it affects many lives worldwide. Encourage mentally disordered individuals to share their story to break the silence around mental disorder. This is also a way of increasing awareness both in the family and social setting. Statistically, the more aware the public is about the facts of mental health the low the stigma rate. 


4. Encouraging Equal Treatment For Mental Illness As Well As Physical Illness

Mental illness is no different from physical illness. We should show equal sympathy for individuals with a mental disorder as well as physical ailments. This can be done through the regular encounter of the public with people suffering from mental health problems. Creating opportunities for individuals to visit mentally challenged people helps significantly in reducing the social stigma. 


5. Promoting For Mental Health Reforms And Funds

Encourage people suffering from mental health to join reform forums that assist them to deal with the disorder. It is important for the government to support the healthcare sector for continuous mental health services to the public. With an increase in the number of mental healthcare facilities, many individuals will have a place to run to when facing mental disorders.