Social Stigma of Mental Health Disorders
More and more of us every day are diagnosed with different types of illnesses. It's been said that close to 50 million Americans will suffer from a mental disorder at any given time in their life. More disturbing is that only about a quarter of them will seek medical attention. Very often people are reluctant to talk about mental illness. It's imperative that people stop to take the time to learn about the facts of mental illness and to stop the discrimination that is caused by the stigma society creates, that people with mental illness need to be treated with respect and dignity.
There are so many misconceptions about mental disability.
"Misconceptions about mental illness contribute to the stigma, which leads many people to be ashamed and prevents them from seeking help," said Constance Lieber, NARSAD President. "Dispelling these myths is a powerful step toward eradicating the stigma and allaying the fears surrounding brain disorders." I would have to agree with what Leiber is saying about "Dispelling these myths" is a powerful way to ending the stigma that is lingering over the many Americans who are suffering from mental illness.
I'm going to talk about some of the myths that exist. First, and I believe it to be one of the largest myths about disability is that mental illness are not real or true illnesses like diabetes or cancers. That people with mental illness must be crazy. Another myth (which to me is just putting that "label" on someone) is that people with mental illnesses are often thought to be violent or dangerous, when in fact it's quite the opposite. Most often people who are suffering from mental illness can be frightened and confused. Finally, another big
Myth is that people who are battling depression are often labeled as having a personality weakness or being flawed. That depression is just a normal part of the aging process.
"One in five Americans suffers from a diagnosable mental illness in a given year. But statistics show that only one-third of these individuals seek treatment. Four of the 10 leading causes of disability worldwide are mental disorders. Among developed nations, including the United States, major depression is the leading cause of disability. Also near the top of these rankings are manic-depressive illness, schizophrenia, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. The direct cost of mental health services, which includes spending for treatment and rehabilitation, is approximately $69 billion in the United States. Indirect costs, which refer to lost productivity at the workplace, school, and home, are estimated at $78.6 billion."(M.Shomon)
The social aspect of mental illness is huge. How does society view people with mental illness? Often times due to lack of education and exposure to mental illness as a disability, people think negatively and show it with the language they use. It's very sad to say but often times people with any kind of disability, whether it’s mental illness or a physical impairment is likely to be invisible to the public. Some attitudes about mental illness are changing slowly. Being able to overcome the stigma that society has created is hard for anybody suffering from any disability. People who are suffering from mental illness have feelings of shame and guilt; often times have low self-esteem and isolation issues. These feeling are brought on by the negative attitudes society hinders over disability. These are known stereotypes that cause discrimination. Change is what is needed and it should be demanded .Teaching/educating is what needs to be done. This can start in schools and community centers in your county. There are so many ways to advocate for our disabled population. “All disabled individuals should be viewed as active and fully equal participants in our society”. The new paradigm focuses on new methods between the disabled person and society. “Disability often times is the result of