Drop the Stigma: The Realities of Mental Health
What do lung cancer, arthritis, high blood pressure, and depression all have in common? They are all illnesses. While the first three may be related to physical well-being and the last to mental, they are all serious health problems nonetheless. The issue in society is that mental illnesses are viewed in a different light. They are often looked at with contempt and wrongfully believed to be caused by laziness or a lack of initiative. In the world of psychology, it’s known as the mental health stigma, and it needs to be done away with.
The Realities of Mental Illness
The major underlying cause of the mental health stigma is a lack of education and misinformation. Until you understand the full breadth of mental illness, you can’t possibly work to end the stigma. Here are some quick facts that prove mental health is a major issue in the United States:
- Each year, 1 in 4 adults suffer from a diagnosed mental illness.
- There are more than 200 individual conditions which are classified as a mental illness.
- Half of all mental health disorder symptoms can be seen by the time the individual reaches the age of 14.
- Five percent of the adult population has a serious mental illness, such as bipolar disorder, depression, or schizophrenia.
- Only 38% of those with diagnosable disorders receive adequate treatment.
There are a number of other facts regarding mental illness, and each only further solidifies the reality of the situation. Mental illnesses are real disorders and shouldn’t be viewed any differently than a physical ailment or disease.
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The Danger of the Stigma
The mental health stigma is dangerous to sufferers of mental illnesses and only perpetuates the negative symptoms and side effects of their issues. According to research, the most common feelings associated with the stigma are blame, shame, isolation, secrecy, social exclusion, stereotypes, and discrimination.
People who further the stigma believe those who suffer from mental illnesses are sad, weak, dishonest, and pitiful. However, this misunderstanding is rooted in the fact that people believe mental illnesses are choices and not diseases. After all, would you ever blame a person with cancer for their disease or claim they are lazy, sad, and dishonest? When the mental health stigma is perpetuated, that’s exactly what’s happening.
Are You Guilty of the Stigma?
Many people are guilty without even knowing they are. Some examples of furthering the stigma include the following:
- Using derogatory phrases related to mental health or saying things that pin the blame on the sufferer.
- Isolating people with mental illnesses because you don’t know how to act around them.
- Believing people with mental illnesses are less intelligent or capable of performing certain actions, tasks, or responsibilities.
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Bridges to Recovery
At Bridges to Recovery, we take mental illnesses seriously and offer mental health treatments for a wide range of disorders and issues. Contact us today to find out more about our specialized approach and unique philosophy. There is hope, and everyone deserves the chance to find effective treatment.