Combating The Stigma Of Mental Illness


Mental Illness…

That sounds bad, doesn’t it? it sounds like someone is crazy or retarded, maybe just plain weak-minded. You are depressed?Snap out of it! Post Traumatic Stress Disorder? Hey! It’s over. It’sin the past! Get over it! Bi-Polar? That’s just an excuse for bad behavior. Scizophrenic? Get a hold of yourself, there’s nothing wrong with you!


The mark of shame has been on mental illness for far too long. This is due to misconceptions about the types of mental illness. Knowledge is the key to erasing this stigma. Psychiatrists have started a campaign to combat these prejudices.


There are six common mental illness, which are panic attacks, dementia, eating disorders, depression, schizophrenia and addiction to drugs or alcohol. People with any of these disorders need understanding and compassion, not hostility and disapproval. When patients receive negative reactions, it drives them further into their problem.


Not all drug addicts, schizophrenics and alcoholics are violent, even though that misconception is held by a large majority of people. With the lack of education for the general public, many think that a severely depressed person will be able to pull themselves out of this problem on their own. On the other hand, the majority of the public think that those suffering from dementia, depression, schizophrenia, panic attacks and addictions cannot be helped with treatment.


World Mental Health Day is on October 10th and the focus will be on mental illnesses and human rights. The campaign to erase the stigma from mental illness focuses on providing information on types of treatments offered through self-help groups and psychotherapy. They are attempting to lift the public’s awareness of the types of mental illness that are the most common. It is the desire of the psychiatrists to not only reduce the stigma, but to allow those affected to have dignity and the same rights others enjoy.


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