Getting Rid Of Stigma Surrounding Mental Illness
Start writing a post
Health and Wellness

Getting Rid Of Stigma Surrounding Mental Illness

Mental illness is not a sign of weakness, nor should it be a source of shame.

8
Getting Rid Of Stigma Surrounding Mental Illness
Douglas Mental Health University Institute

There is no doubt in my mind that we live in an age of growing acceptance. From watching the strides our country has taken in promoting gay rights, and racial and gender equality, among many others, we have an incredible inability to settle with what has simply been handed to us.

We are the generation of progress and continuous improvement, protesting for what we believe is humane and fair, which brings me to the great injustice surrounding pre-conceived notions of mental illness and therapy, that I myself am protesting.

The stigma surrounding mental illness, like any other prejudice, is rooted in the beliefs of generations before us. Until deinstitutionalization during the early 1970s, those who suffered from mental health issues were separated from the rest of the community and grouped into psychiatric hospitals based solely upon the commonality of their illness.

This segregation has led people to instinctively concentrate on the differences of those with mental health problems, instead of seeing someone who is suffering from a mental illness – meaning their mental illness is only one tiny portion of who they are as a whole – we often characterize someone AS their mental illness.

The misconception lies, frankly, within ignorance. Some of us assume our brains are invincible, and therefore we believe we should have the capability to “snap out” of our depression, anxiety, or ruminations on command; but we as humans are nowhere near invincible.

In Paper Towns, John Green writes, “What a treacherous thing to believe that a person is more than a person,” and this embedded stigma is a result of this so-called "treacherous thing." The truth of the matter is we are not as capable as we would hope to be, so to hold ourselves accountable to such high expectations is justifiably unfair.

During my first therapy session, I remember saying, “I never thought that I would be someone who needed therapy,” implying this embedded disassociation between myself and mental illness. I had gone in with the idea that needing therapy was a sign of despair, a last resort, in a sense because I had previously depended so strongly on myself, and myself only, to sort through my own problems.

I started therapy with the mindset that I was someone who needed to be fixed instead of someone who had the opportunity to better myself, and although there is a fine line between fixing yourself and bettering yourself, the line still exists. Society implies the notion of fixing yourself suggests there is something wrong with you, when in reality there is nothing wrong or degrading about mental illness.

Mental illness is not a sign of weakness, nor should it be a source of shame, and I truly cannot stress how important that is.

For some of us, mental illnesses are an unknown concept: we may not have been exposed to the reality of those living with mental health issues, and, therefore result to assumptions to make sense of what we do not fully understand.

As humans, our instinctual response to the unknown is fear, and with fear comes these prejudices and misconstrued ideas. In this day in age, however, I am confident that our intellect can override instinct.

I believe that with a few hypothetical picket signs and theoretical bull-horns, we have the power to stifle this stigma so people suffering from a mental illness can shamelessly pursue the treatment they deserve.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Student Life

Waitlisted for a College Class? Here's What to Do!

Dealing with the inevitable realities of college life.

60158
college students waiting in a long line in the hallway
StableDiffusion

Course registration at college can be a big hassle and is almost never talked about. Classes you want to take fill up before you get a chance to register. You might change your mind about a class you want to take and must struggle to find another class to fit in the same time period. You also have to make sure no classes clash by time. Like I said, it's a big hassle.

This semester, I was waitlisted for two classes. Most people in this situation, especially first years, freak out because they don't know what to do. Here is what you should do when this happens.

Keep Reading...Show less
a man and a woman sitting on the beach in front of the sunset

Whether you met your new love interest online, through mutual friends, or another way entirely, you'll definitely want to know what you're getting into. I mean, really, what's the point in entering a relationship with someone if you don't know whether or not you're compatible on a very basic level?

Consider these 21 questions to ask in the talking stage when getting to know that new guy or girl you just started talking to:

Keep Reading...Show less
Lifestyle

Challah vs. Easter Bread: A Delicious Dilemma

Is there really such a difference in Challah bread or Easter Bread?

38982
loaves of challah and easter bread stacked up aside each other, an abundance of food in baskets
StableDiffusion

Ever since I could remember, it was a treat to receive Easter Bread made by my grandmother. We would only have it once a year and the wait was excruciating. Now that my grandmother has gotten older, she has stopped baking a lot of her recipes that require a lot of hand usage--her traditional Italian baking means no machines. So for the past few years, I have missed enjoying my Easter Bread.

Keep Reading...Show less
Adulting

Unlocking Lake People's Secrets: 15 Must-Knows!

There's no other place you'd rather be in the summer.

960228
Group of joyful friends sitting in a boat
Haley Harvey

The people that spend their summers at the lake are a unique group of people.

Whether you grew up going to the lake, have only recently started going, or have only been once or twice, you know it takes a certain kind of person to be a lake person. To the long-time lake people, the lake holds a special place in your heart, no matter how dirty the water may look.

Keep Reading...Show less
Student Life

Top 10 Reasons My School Rocks!

Why I Chose a Small School Over a Big University.

199917
man in black long sleeve shirt and black pants walking on white concrete pathway

I was asked so many times why I wanted to go to a small school when a big university is so much better. Don't get me wrong, I'm sure a big university is great but I absolutely love going to a small school. I know that I miss out on big sporting events and having people actually know where it is. I can't even count how many times I've been asked where it is and I know they won't know so I just say "somewhere in the middle of Wisconsin." But, I get to know most people at my school and I know my professors very well. Not to mention, being able to walk to the other side of campus in 5 minutes at a casual walking pace. I am so happy I made the decision to go to school where I did. I love my school and these are just a few reasons why.

Keep Reading...Show less

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Facebook Comments