The Importance of Mental Health & The Stigmas of Mental Illness
When the topic of mental illness and the importance of mental health are brought up, it’s usually addressed with many stigma filled responses. We’ve all heard phrases like, “I don’t need a therapist; I’m not crazy” or “I’m not weak; I don’t need anyone to help me”
While perspectives like these are common, mental illness is just as prevalent, especially in minority communities. Only 60% of people who have mental illnesses receive treatment. Maybe if we can better educate individuals on the matter, we can address these issues and heal our community.
The most frequent and harmful stigma out there is that anyone who is seeking help for mental instability of some kind is labeled as “crazy”. Not only does this make people feel ashamed of admitting that they need help, but the act of reaching out is something that should be respected. A person seeking help is a person trying to better themselves. Whether they are battling anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, or any other illness; they are trying to become a better parent, sibling or child. So consider this the next time you encounter a person facing these issues; instead of labeling them as weak, speak life into them by letting them know that they are strong enough to get through it.
One example I always like to use when addressing mental health is the comparison to physical health. For instance, what if you catch a cold; it’s nasty, but you manage it on your own. You utilize a few passed down home remedies and before you know it you’re back to normal! Now, let’s say you catch another cold, only this time symptoms start getting worse and eventually you can barely get out of the bed. No one is going to judge you or criticize you for going to the doctor, especially if your life is at risk. It’s the same for mental health. Just like physical health, it needs to be catered to and monitored if there’s something wrong.
One preconceived notion about people suffering with anxiety and depression is that therapists are the only form of treatment. Therapists work wonders for a lot of people. Just the act of getting things off your chest can be tremendously relieving, but some people aren’t comfortable with it and that’s okay. Maybe mediation, yoga, or even finding a hobby that eases your mind will work better for you. There are a million other ways you can relive stress, you just have to address the issue and find a way that’s right for you.
To everyone out there battling anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, or any other mental illness, don’t feel ashamed. Life isn’t easy and sometimes you get sucked into endless cycles of defeat, but there is always someone out there for you to reach out to and there’s always someone who understands just what you’re going through. So don’t be afraid to speak up and speak out because you never know who else you just might help in the process.
Author: Christina Rousseau