If We Treated Physical Illness Like Mental Illness
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Health and Wellness

If We Treated Physical Illness Like Mental Illness

If We Treated Physical Illness Like Mental Illness

With the new year off to a start, I have one resolution in mind: to help end the stigma surrounding mental illness that is so prevalent in today’s society. One out of five people struggle with mental illness, today, although many fail to receive help.

Mental illness holds a broad spectrum of disorders that people experience. Some of the most common ones are depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia. There are major consequences to mental illness going untreated. Suicide is one consequence and is one of today's leading killers. There are also people who end up homeless or incarcerated because they are not able to function in society.

I am one of those who suffer from mental illness. I have struggled with depression for years, and it took me a very long time to talk about it and get help. Once I did, I found that people were surprised when I said, “I have an appointment with my therapist,” out loud. I also faced many obstacles with how people react to it. I couldn’t have said, “I didn’t do my homework because I spent last night curled up in bed unable to do anything.” Most of my teachers would just say that I was lazy and needed to put more effort into my school work. Although many people deal with this, our society has not accepted that mental illness is just the same as physical illness.

To show just how important mental illness is, we can compare how we treat mental illness with physical illness. If someone has cancer we wouldn’t say, “You’re just having a bad day,” or, “You need to just have a more positive outlook on life.” If someone suffers from diabetes and needs insulin shots we don’t say, “Do you think taking medication every day is really necessary.”

The problem is that people view mental illness as a weakness, or something that they can get over. It is hard to just start having positive thoughts. It is a chemical imbalance in the brain that causes most of these illnesses, and many people require medication to balance it all out. Society has caused people to be scared to get help when they are having symptoms of mental illness. I know that it took me a long time to seek help because I didn’t want to be labeled as crazy. I was always that happy, outgoing, funny girl and I didn’t want people to think that deep down I was having suicidal thoughts. This stigma has caused many deaths and we are only forgiving when we have to mourn those deaths.

It is time for this to change. Mental illness stigma can be easily defeated if we become more accepting of those who need help. If we can get people to understand that mental and physical illness are both important, we can help those people who need help, get it. By ending this stigma, society would be saving a lot of lives while also helping the world become a better, healthier place.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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