In an era where speech is more and more polarised and combative, ‘labels’ used to refer to mentally unhealthy people can lead to negative effects that you and I can’t imagine of.
‘Mental illness’ label haunts, stops people from seeking help
According to study researcher Brea Perry of the University of Kentucky, being labelled as having a severe and visible mental disorder, such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, tends to “out” sufferers publicly with somewhat contradictory effects. People known to have these disorders are more vulnerable to stigma and discrimination.
There is fairly strong evidence that the type of language, negative emotions and attitudes act as barriers to care.
According to experts, compared with adults, young people have less favourable attitudes towards people with mental illness. Conversely, young people with mental illness may be exposed to higher levels of stigma than adults. Commonly young people feel that mental illness is embarrassing and should be handled privately.
People with these views tend to seek help less often. The emotional and social withdrawal associated with mental illness the patient goes through, lead its sufferers to be less likely to reach out to friends and family for help or to accept it.
On this Mental Health Day, we need to create a healthy space
Everyone goes through phases of stress, anger and sadness, but the lack of discussion around mental health disorders and how people struggle with them makes it hard to recognise the signs that one needs help.
Researchers have examined data from 144 studies, which included over 90,000 participants from across the globe and concluded that the stigma of mental illness remains one of the top reasons people choose to forgo care. Experts estimate that one in four people have treatable mental or emotional difficulties, but up to 75 percent of sufferers don’t seek the help they need.
It is important for the patients as well as for the people surrounding the sufferer, to understand that mental illness is a disease of the brain, just like pancreatitis or liver disease. And just as with any physical illness, the pain of mental illness doesn’t go away unless treated.
Instead of worrying about what others, who doubt the necessity of mental health treatment think, focus on yourself and your own wellness!