Mental health is a topic that has started to be discussed more and more over the years. It is clear that people have become more accepting of the importance of mental health and the way it can affect everyone’s lives. There is a lot of stigma around mental health issues that can cause people to feel like they should not talk about it or associate themselves with it. The treatment of mental health has come a long way which has also helped people feel like they can talk about it more. It is importance to normalize mental health and talk about it to people, especially young people, so they know that they are not alone, and that others do in fact understand what they are going through.
One of the main reasons there may be so much stigma around mental health is that throughout history, mental illness was sometimes seen as a punishment from a god or higher power. Because of this belief people who were thought to be mentally ill were often not treated well and were put into prisonlike institutions. Reactions to people that were mentally ill caused people not want to reveal their own struggles, and that is why mental health was not properly talked about for a long time. Eventually people began to take notice of the poor treatment that the mentally ill were receiving so there has been a large influx of psychiatric hospitals being built and accepting patients. Other treatment methods have also become available such as “community based care”1.
Common Mental Illnesses
There are many types of mental illnesses that people can suffer from. Depression is one of the most common mental illnesses that exists. Three hundred million people in the world suffer from depression. It is often more common for women to be diagnosed with depression with the statistic being 8.5% of women, and only 4.8% of men suffering from the disease 2. The fact that women are more commonly diagnosed with depression than men, might make men feel like they should not come forward about their depression which can make matters worse.
Anxiety is the most common mental illness diagnosis. Around forty million American adults currently suffer from some type of anxiety disorder. A sad fact is that only about a third of people that are suffering from an anxiety disorder actually go and seek professional help and treatments3.
Eating disorders are another mental illness that affects many people. In America, about thirty million people are struggling with an eating disorder. Eating disorders can affect all genders and races, and often genetics can be a factor in developing an eating disorder4.
Stigma Around Mental Health
Stigma is a very important thing to mention when discussing mental illness.
Because of the negative stigma around mental illness people suffering from a
mental illness are much less likely to seek out help. People may feel reluctant to
tell people about their mental illness for fear of being judged. Stigma can also
be the cause of health insurance not be able to provide funds for treating mental health5.
If people cannot pay for their mental health treatment, they will not go to be
treated and they will not get better. Speaking out against the mental health
stigma and making sure people know that they are supported can help reduce the
stigma. It is important to try and talk about mental illness and health in safe
and comfortable environments so people become more familiar with talking about it.
Mental health awareness is very important and in the future it is hopeful
that it will grow throughout America and other countries of the world. The
stigma surrounding mental illness is hard to beat, but it can be done. If
children are taught at a young age that it is okay for them to speak up
about their feelings and emotions, this might allow for people to be more
open to discussing mental illness. The main goal is to make people aware
of mental illness and help those in need of treatment find the best options
of care for them. Because of the many different mental illnesses, there are
many different ways that doctors choose to treat mental disorders. These ways
can include medication and therapy. Hopefully in the future will be more
discussed and people will find it easier to get treatments.