Mental health stigma - an odd paradox
In the past few days certain incidents has drawn the attention of every individual especially on social media on the importance of mental health among everyone. Suddenly everyone was trying to be concerned about the wellness and life of their closed ones. Everyone started to manifest that they are there for them and if anyone is going through any melancholy they are most welcome to come and share their feelings with them. Everyone is ready to end the stigma of mental health just because a famous and lovable Bollywood actor has committed suicide .I guess one need to die to draw the attention of the people towards such an important things in every individual life i.e.mental health.
Stigma is a term used to describe the negative and stereotypical thoughts, attitude and feelings about people on the basis of a person includes gender, skin colour, sexual orientation, religion and mental illness. These attitudes frequently foster stigma and discrimination towards people with mental health problems. Stigma is the process of blaming a person wrongly and devaluing him or her for having an illness or being in an undesirable situation. Many people hold negative opinions towards people with mental health problems because they do not understand the issues involved and because they do relying on myths and misconceptions.
Stigma is considered to be opinion or judgement held by individual or society. If these prepositions are acted upon , these actions may be considered to be discriminatory . Discrimination may be obvious and direct , such as someone making a negative remarks about the person mental health illness or his treatment.
Mental health stigma are of two types one is social stigma which is characterized by a prejudicial attitudes and discriminating behaviour directed towards individuals with mental health problems. And second one is self-stigma which is defined as the process in which individuals with mental illness feel they are disgraced, blame and isolate themselves from people. It is one of the most harmful effects of stigma. Self-stigma occurs when it alters how the person views himself/herself. The person living with mental illness may mistakenly believe that his/her condition is a sign of personal weakness or that she/he should be able to control it .Besides self-stigma is the acceptance of prejudiced perceptions held by the patient.
There are many causes of stigma like ignorance/ misconceptions, lack of education , lack of perception , lifestyle such as smoking and other drugs use ,and the act being seen as shameful, lack of information , economic instability etc but these challenges can be reduce by education which involves replacing misconception with actual facts .contact involved changing public attitudes about mental illness through direct interactions with people who have experienced mental illness , go public and share experience of illness and of discrimination join the association and supports groups.
It is unfortunate that often people with the illness do not believe that they even have it, and turn down medication. It often takes events of hospitalization or severe sickness or illness to make people realize they do actually have an illness, so more education is needed to prevent some of these things from happening.
In the recent data it is found that there are more than 60%of people with mental health problems and mental illness won’t seek the help they need. Stigma is one of the main reasons. We need to take it seriously as it can threat the life of many people. If we stop judging the people the people around us with mental health problems can start healing.