Mental Health Stigma

Share:

Facebook
Twitter
Pinterest
LinkedIn

Mental Health Problems Misunderstood by Public

 

Many people misunderstand the nature of mental illness. Movies, novels, and myths tell of people with mental illnesses committing terrible crimes. As a result, many fear mental illness because they don’t understand it. A lack of knowledge about why those with certain mental illnesses act as they do leads many to believe they are dangerous and unpredictable. Some fear the mentally ill who hallucinate are demon-possessed.

As a result, for years, families hid the fact that they had someone in their home with a mental illness. They were ashamed for anyone to know and, therefore, either sent them away, locked them in their room, or hid them where no one could know of their existence. Such behavior only served to worsen the mental illness behavior, supporting their theory of possession or risk of violence.

Unfortunately, the psychiatric community did little to dispel their fear. Treatments consisted of imprisonment, shock therapy, insulin therapy, and other forms of punishment. Many were rejected by their families when they did not become better and instead became members of the fringe community, those who lived just on the edge of town, out of sight and out of view of those who cared.

Fortunately, some of that stigma is beginning to decrease. Many families now seek treatment from qualified counselors and therapists. Some willingly share their stories with others to encourage them to seek help.

I added the section on mental health to provide information about symptoms and, in some cases, options for treatment. I hope to enlighten readers with the truth about mental health by providing information regarding various mental health conditions. By knowing more about them, someone might recognize their symptoms or those of a family member and seek help. Furthermore, knowledge promotes acceptance and understanding.

  Mental Illness Carries Stigma

Mental illness still carries a stigma that prevents treatment and discussion. It’s a severe problem in the United States, and underfunded for treatment options. Most people do not realize that more than 50% of US citizens receive some mental illness diagnosis in their lifetime, with 25% experiencing an episode yearly. Twenty-five percent of children experience a debilitating mental illness at some point. Currently, in America, 1:25 people live with a severe mental illness such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or major depression (https://www.cdc.gov/mentalhealth/learn/index.htm)

Caregivers Provide Mental Health Support

Often, individuals with severe mental illness need family support. Family caregivers may rescue them from self-harm, provide physical care, coax them into treatment, bail them out of jail, and encourage them to make it themselves. But unfortunately, the struggles for mental health caregivers are as accurate and exhausting as those for physical health caregivers.

Need to Know More Before We Can Help Effectively

The first step in helping those with mental health problems become more independent is to make ourselves more knowledgeable about their conditions and what we can realistically expect them to do. Once we know their limits, we can help them develop within their potential, and there will be less frustration for everyone.

https://www.mentalhealth.gov

How Do You Know if Someone is Struggling with a Mental Health Problem?

Many factors contribute to our mental health and well-being.

  • Biological factors such as our genes and brain chemistry,
  • Our family history of mental health problems influences both our development and culture and
  • Life experiences, such as trauma and abuse.

These factors influence how someone might respond to a mental health condition. Someone influenced by all three might have a more significant impact than someone who may only have one factor. But then again, what if that one factor (for example, trauma) was extreme? Couldn’t it have as much impact on someone as all three factors for someone else? Therefore, making a judgment call regarding someone’s background and where they “should” be in recovery is a mistake. Instead, we need to meet and accept them where they are now.

If someone you know shows one or more symptoms, encourage them to talk to someone about what they are experiencing.

  • Eating or sleeping too much or too little.
  • Pulling away from people and usual activities
  • Having low or no energy
  • Feeling numb or like nothing matters.
  • Having unexplained aches and pains
  • Feeling helpless or hopeless.
  • Smoking, drinking, or using drugs more than usual.
  • Feeling unusually confused, forgetful, on edge, angry, upset, worried, or scared.
  • Yelling or fighting with family and friends
  • Experiencing severe mood swings that cause problems in relationships
  • Having persistent thoughts and memories you can’t get out of your head.
  • Hearing voices or believing things that are not true
  • Thinking of harming yourself or others
  • Inability to perform daily tasks like taking care of your kids or getting to work or school.

Resources:  

https://www.mentalhealth.gov/basics/what-is-mental-health

 National Mental Health Association,

https://www.cdc.gov/mentalhealth/learn/index.htm

 

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Healthcare to homecare provides information and resources to help new and experienced caregivers take on the role of healthcare provider at home.
Healthcare to homecare provides information and resources to help new and experienced caregivers take on the role of healthcare provider at home.
Caregivers of special needs children face many challenges and overwhelming emotions. Loss of dreams, fear of the future, and much more. They need someone who understands and doesn’t judge; someone who’s been there and gets it.
Caregivers of special needs children face many challenges and overwhelming emotions. Loss of dreams, fear of the future, and much more. They need someone who understands and doesn’t judge; someone who’s been there and gets it.