Breaking the mental health stigma

Why the stigma is toxic and needs to be put to an end

When you think of the phrase ‘mentally ill’ what do you think of? Someone talking to themselves like a ‘crazy person’? Someone in a straitjacket in an isolated room? Someone foaming at the mouth? These are all examples of the way those with mental illness have been depicted by the media for years. In reality, most people who experience the symptoms of mental illness and mental health-related disorders are just normal people walking among us. 

Mental health is just as important, if not more important than physical health, and should be treated as such.

Due to the negative stigma surrounding mental health issues, it can sometimes make it difficult for individuals suffering to get the help they need. The negative stigma provoked by the media has often-times instilled a fear in these individuals that they may look like a ‘crazy person’ or a appear weak by asking for help. The stigma has, in turn, taught those who do not experience bad mental health to fear those who do and to not support them because they are ‘crazy’ and differ from what society considers the norm. 

This fear and lack of support often puts the suffering individuals at a greater risk for social isolation, which can lead to increased rates of suicide. This creates a cycle of illness with no hope of escape. We need to end this cycle immediately. 

Mental health is just as important, if not more important than physical health, and should be treated as such. It should not be ignored or criticized to the point where a condition can be worsened. Because in actuality the individuals who suffer from mental health disorders and the symptoms are not crazy, in fact, many can still function at normal to above normal capacity when receiving treatment. 

They are not psycho killers or are they crazed lunatics as they are often seen on television, they are normal people, they are college students, they are loved ones, and strangers alike. There is no reason to see or treat them any differently. The stigma puts them at greater risk, and instead of shunning them we should be encouraging and supporting them to work on their mental health. So, check-in with yourself and with your friends, I promise you are not crazy, and should not be afraid to ask for help.

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