The Latest

THE LATEST

THE LATEST THINKING

THE LATEST THINKING

The opinions of THE LATEST’s guest contributors are their own.

The Extremes of Mental Health Stigma

Annmary Ibrahim

Posted on November 3, 2020 20:14

5 users

If the stigma around mental health supports the negative voices rather than the person struggling with the mental illness, there is a major problem.

"It's all in your head." "I heard it's really bad … he goes to … therapy." These two phrases represent the two ends of the mental health stigma spectrum. Mental health is either seen as a slight inconvenience that no one should complain about, or it is a formidable bad guy that is so serious that no one you know could possibly deal with such a malady. These two extremes are equally familiar and damaging to anyone who has ever experienced mental health issues.

On one end, mental health issues are treated essentially like the common cold in which it is "not that bad" and "everyone deals with it from time to time." People who suffer from mental health issues can feel invalidated and accept that their struggles, which are real and can be treated, are neither of those things. After all, why would someone complain about something everyone goes through just fine?

On the other end, mental health issues are viewed as the equivalent of a "freak occurrence," something so terrible and rare. People who are struggling may convince themselves that they are being unreasonable and that they "can't possibly have it that bad," as it is rather easy to downplay an issue in the face of a perpetuated version of mental illness.

Both ends of the stigma spectrum end in the same result: a hindrance for those with mental health issues that can cause them to feel ashamed, dramatic, unreasonable and unworthy of the help they may need.

It is also critical to note that for those with mental health issues, the feelings that stigma causes are not being introduced but rather reinforced. For example, major symptoms of different mental illnesses include overthinking and having low self-esteem, so for someone struggling with mental illness to hear "it's not that bad" can cause them to underestimate how bad they are actually struggling. Similarly, the idea of them being dramatic could be a detrimental blow to their already fragile self-image, once more causing them to hide their struggles rather than seek out help.

As someone who struggles with anxiety, I can guarantee that sayings like "it's all in your head," "it's not that bad" or "you're being dramatic" are not revolutionary. There is a voice constantly repeating those mantras; however, they become louder and more concrete the more they are fed to a person. If the stigma around mental health supports negative voices rather than the person struggling with mental illness, there is a major problem.

According to the World Health Organization, 800,000 people die of suicide due to mental health issues. 800,000 people die preventable deaths. That is 800,000 too many.

For whoever needs to hear this, you and your struggles are valid and real, and there is never a wrong reason to seek out help.

Mental Health Resources:

https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/

https://www.samhsa.gov/find-help/national-helpline

https://www.crisistextline.org/help-for-depression/?gclid=CjwKCAiAnIT9BRAmEiwANaoE1RwDnRqvTJKoAPHdPb8WsfXjNVRRCFA8-wnYAMFBIB_2iLlsJVpmkRoCqB0QAvD_BwE

Annmary Ibrahim

Posted on November 3, 2020 20:14

Comments

comments powered by Disqus
Source: WebMD Health
2

Since the pandemic began, the prevalence of depression symptoms has roughly tripled, with the poor who lost jobs and savings...

THE LATEST THINKING

Video Site Tour

The Latest
The Latest

Subscribe to THE LATEST Newsletter.

The Latest
The Latest

Share this TLT through...

The Latest