Our society and mental health
There are many stigmas that revolve around the mental health issue, and who has them. As a society, we tend to ignore and even reject what is a difficult topic for us to face and mental illnesses is one of those topics. How much do we really know about mental health? Do we know people who suffer from loneliness or abandonment due to some mental condition?
In addition to genetics, the day-to-day stress that our society currently faces has become a trigger for imbalances on a psychological level and has allowed the perfect substrate to develop for the manifestation of mental illnesses such as depression, anxiety, chronic stress, agoraphobia, among others.
The issue of mental health and mental illnesses is so misunderstood on a social level that the person who suffers from them is stigmatized. But in order to understand this phenomenon, let us first see what social stigma means in the psychological sphere.
Regarding mental illnesses, stigma is the label that is applied to the individual who suffers from any of them, which generates negative reactions in the life of the human being, since they can lose self-confidence, they can lose their faith on their recovery, and the ability to lead a normal life. This is generated by being constantly identified as “schizophrenic”, “autistic”, “depressive”, among other labels according to their illness, generating a constant insecurity in the human being’s personality, and creating a feeling of disability.
Mental health and stigmas
Due to the stigmas that surround the person whose mental health has been affected, that person suffers from social rejection that involves their work, church and family life.
We know stories about people whose family members still do not know the characteristics of what their diagnosis implies and who do not even show interest in knowing it or in how they can help their family member to feel better or face the illness.
As we said earlier in our posts, there is the misconception that a person who has a mental illness should be referred to a mental asylum or a psychiatric clinic. When in fact, there are treatments that balance brain chemicals that in many cases affect mental health. There are even supportive therapies, group therapies, and other tools to achieve this end.
Social stigma labels do not help the patient feel better. Of course, having the diagnosis gives the patient a feeling of “finally” knowing what he/she is suffering from, and being able to name the set of symptoms that are manifested, but if said diagnosis is not treated, the chances of that person suffering from ridicule or misunderstanding increase due to social stigmas.
10 myths about mental health
- Mental illnesses are not common: More and more people are being diagnosed with a mental illness, and today’s daily life involves high levels of stress and complexity that did not exist in the past. One in five people will manifest a mental illness at some point in their life.
- If the person works harder, the symptoms can disappear: Actually, not all mental illnesses have the same treatment. It all depends on the causes, symptoms and general conditions of the person. But actually, if the person tries harder, the symptoms will not disappear. Mental illnesses are real illnesses, as we said earlier on our last posts, the brain is an organ, and as such it also becomes ill.
- Anyone with a mental illness needs treatment: Treatment depends on the type of illness that affects the individual’s mental health. Some will need medication; others, group therapy; others, therapies of another kind. Generalizations in these cases do not apply.
- There is nothing we can do to help someone with mental illness: There is actually a lot we can do for people with mental illnesses. Our support and understanding are of great value to the treatment and improvement of people whose mental health has been affected. Not judging, listening intently, not treating the person differently, and asking questions before giving any opinions can make a difference in the patient’s life.
- People who suffer from a mental illness are not able to work: Mental illnesses, when treated correctly, do not constitute an impediment to carry out work activities. Many people with depression, anxiety, and even agoraphobia can have normal lives when they are treated successfully. There are cases in which the illness is very serious and the person must stop working, but they are extreme cases of mental health impairment.
- 6. Children suffering from mental illnesses are “damaged” for life: When a child has a mental illness, he/she can be treated with the techniques the case require, so that the child can have his/her mental health restore. The earlier in the child’s life the disease is treated, the more the child can enjoy a full and happy life.
- Mental illnesses are the result of poor parenting: There are genetic factors that affect the mental health of the person who suffers from a mental illness. The way parents raise a child cannot be blamed entirely for making he/she have symptoms of mental illnesses. In this case, parenting plays an important role in exacerbating symptoms, or on the contrary, being a base of support and understanding for the improvement of the child.
- Having a mental illness is a sign of weakness: There is no such thing as “mental strength” in the context of mental illnesses. A person does not develop a mental illness because he/she is “weak.” Mental “strength” is not the same as mental “health.” In fact, many people whose mental health is affected are people who in other areas of mental performance show strengths and good aptitudes.
- People with mental illnesses are violent: We believe that mental illnesses are related only to shootings or terrorist acts that we see on the news and that occur more and more frequently in our social context. But there are mental illnesses such as depression, anxiety, autism, among others, in which there are no symptoms of aggressiveness or violence at all. Statistics show that only 7.5% of crimes are associated with people with mental illnesses.
10.Therapy is for adults only: Contrary to common belief, therapy is also useful for children with mental health problems. Therapies for children have an age-appropriate approach and provide children with tools to cope with and manage their diagnoses, as well as emotional tools for parents and family members. Thus, giving them a safe and supportive environment for their development as individuals.
As Christians we must be a source of support and understanding for people suffering from mental illnesses. Stigmas should not be part of our vocabulary or our actions when we address or interact with people who have mental illnesses.
Do you know anyone who has a mental illness? Do you have a diagnosis of mental illness? If so, have you gotten the much-needed support from your family, church or friends? Which other ways do you recommend in order to give one’s support to someone who has a mental illness? Leave us your comment in the comments section of our blog and this way we can make our contribution so that this topic becomes well known in our society, and we can be a source of support for people who need it.