Destigmatizing mental health problems

Destigmatizing mental health problems

Mental health problems, coupled with the stigma attached to them, gradually become a condition beyond repair for many people. In other words, people with a mental disorder are doubly challenged – first, with the pressure to deal with their mental disability, and second, with the society’s attitude toward such illnesses.

People who are either diagnosed or undiagnosed with any kind of mental disorder are challenged by the stereotypes that often stem from misconceptions about mental disorders. Many times, such people keep themselves away from getting help, hindering the prospect of a healthy future ahead.

People need to be educated

According to a 2011 report by the World Economic Forum (WEF), mental illness leads the list of health issue worldwide, which cost $2.5 trillion in 2010 and is estimated to cost $6 trillion by 2030. A 2015 report by the National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI) suggested that nearly one in five adults in America, or approximately 43.8 million people, suffer from mental disorders in a given year. However, only 41 percent of them received treatment in a year prior to the study.

Stigma and embarrassment are the two factors that prevent people from seeking medical aid. The ethnic minority population is more likely to face issues when seeking professional help owing to their experiences of racial discrimination. Loss of living space and job or having to stay aloof from the society are some of the consequences that compel these minority groups to succumb to the stigma related to mental disorders.

However, ethnic minority groups are not the only population affected by stigma attached to mental disorders. Even among the general population, mental health is often not discussed in open in the same way as a physical illness. But it is important to understand that mental health is an important aspect of a healthy living and it should be given high importance, and mental disorders must be treated with utmost  care.

Awareness and education around mental health encourage the societies to consider mental health conditions as normal and treatable clinical disorders and urge the afflicted people to seek timely intervention. Hence, the need of the hour is to take initiatives to spread the word about mental health and treatment. For example, the NAMI has formulated a family-to-family program to educate families of children and teens who are experiencing symptoms of mental health illness. The 12-week educational program is aimed at helping family members and relatives of mentally ill patients understand and support their wards while maintaining their own well-being.

The free-of-cost courses of the program are available for families of children and teens with major depression, borderline schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder, bipolar disorder/manic depression, panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), co-occurring brain disorders and addictive disorders.

More initiatives needed to spread awareness

More initiatives are required to curb social or public stigma and self-stigma, thereby helping the afflicted people lead a life free of challenges. People affected by mental health disorders are unable to think, act, and perform accurately. It is not just the responsibility of a family member to care for a mentally ill person,  in fact, the society should come forward to support those who are dealing with mild-to-severe mental health conditions.

While support from family, friends, and relatives is integral, one should not undermine the role of professional assistance when it comes to mental disorders. If you know someone who is suffering from any mental health condition, get in touch with the California Mental Health Helpline. Our mental health experts will guide you to the best mental health facilities in California. You may call at our 24/7 helpline number 855-559-3923 or chat online to know about the best mental health treatment centers in California.