Mental illnesses mean far more than what labels induce. In turnout, there is a high increase in mental illnesses worldwide. Whatever language, whatever race or age; mental illnesses affect everyone. Mental illnesses range from small and casual ones to more critical and chronic ones, and they harm individuals, families, and societies. “Foremost, mental health refers to our cognitive, behavioral, and emotional wellbeing - it is all about how we think, feel, and behave” (Nordqvis, 2017). The conception of certain diseases can be surprisingly unique and questionable and as such mental illnesses. According to the society you belong to, definitely, there is a way you perceive mental illnesses and people with mental illnesses. With conviction, today, there is a range of things that are wrongly believed about mental health in general; and it affects the recovering process of people who have mental illnesses; and it eliminates them mistakenly from our societies. These days, because of the alterations in mental health; everyone is called to overcome the biases and unenthusiastic ways about mental illnesses.
Enlightening, “Mental illnesses refer to a wide range of mental health conditions — disorders that affect your mood, thinking and behavior” (Mayo Clinic, n.d.). Though, I prefer defining mental illnesses as one type of brain sickness. Indeed, the brain is as a person’s master control center as people mostly refer to it; and to have it sick or less effective that should be our first terror. As humankind was evolving, a lot was discovered and this as well got meaning as the years went on, and mental illnesses as of others have a similar history. Hippocrates (460-377 BCC) is the first person who actually gave a clear meaning and named mental illnesses, after him a lot followed to have the soon two main classification DSM5 and ICD 10; that classifies very many mental illnesses. Mentioning a few, the famously- known diseases are “Depression, schizophrenia, Bipolar, dissociative Identity disorders, Anxiety, and borderline personality disorder.
Principally, mental health comes laterally with another word “Stigma”. The dictionary defines stigma as a mark of disgrace associated with a particular circumstance, quality or person. And actually, mental health stigma stands for prejudices; blemish; biases; wrong conceptions; stains that most of us have held on about mental health. The stigma around mental health not only heaves the diagnostic process but as well as the healing process. To be reasonable, the stigma around mental health has reduced compared to the past centuries and millennia; but it is still vivid and very damaging. For instance, earlier to treat mental illnesses there were Trepaning (Cutting a hole in the brain), the Utica Crib (Putting a person a mental illness in a coffin-sized cage) and many more human rights harming processes used as a way of treating people with mental illnesses. But as of today, the treatment process comes in many different ways (Individual therapy, group therapy, medication, etc.…) and it eliminates violence. Though, the stigma is near to nothing in the health system; our communities/ societies have an enormous stigma towards mental illnesses and no matter how much it has been fought; it still is not stopping.
Certainly, when we talk about mental illnesses, madness often comes as a synonym; and it is indeed the first stigma. Supplementary, when a person gets a mental illness; everyone has a cause in mind if I say devil possessed everyone would relate, and in this century, added on the list are attention seeking, and pretending; but this as well is “stigma”. In addition, the stigma affects our perception, but as well how we relate or react around people with mental illnesses. In my own experience, I have seen that we often think that people with mental illnesses are violent, does not recognize what is around them, are crazy, weak, and pretty much of animals. But from personally hearing from people who had/have mental illnesses and reading a lot about mental diseases, I actually do not agree with any of what our societies have taught us. Unquestionably, mental illnesses are different, thus present themselves differently; but here is a good example of how a person might actually be feeling when with depression; today’s most common mental illness. “Depression is a mood disorder and it results in severe symptoms that affect how you feel, think, and handle daily activities” (National Institute of Mental Health, n.d.). Illustrating, a person with the disease is insistent sad, anxious, feel hopeless, irritated, guilty, worthless, helpless, restless, has difficulty to concentrate/ to remember or make decisions, suicide ideation, headaches, digestive problems, difficulty sleeping and/or oversleeping. None of these include not knowing what is around them, thus instead of laughing at them and running away; we should comfort them and be there for them, and definitely they are not crazy.
Worried, “Reported in 2017, 1/ 4 people have a mental illness during their lifetime, suicide is the second leading cause of death worldwide in young people, and depression is the leading cause of disability in young people” (WHO, n.d.). Today’s world is very different from what actually was before, and it should not be a surprise if we notice these specific trends in mental health. Truly, changes in the environment alter our needs physically and emotionally both positively and negatively. Today’s world is filled with technology, entrepreneurship, income, marketing, commercialization, creative, and innovations that actually changes how we feel, think, and act; thus, reflecting the mental health status. People in the 20s are three times more narcissistic than the average and this according to science reflects the use of social media; the shifts in dopamine release, and addictions tendencies. To be fair, it is true today's generation meaning people born after 1980 also called generation X/Millennials are the new adapters of changes and trends in technology, and it should not be a surprise to see that it disturbs them as much psychologically.
Winding-up, Stigma reflect the lack of information, and it has done unmeasurable harms. Today millions of lives have perished because they did not get help when it was available, everyone still thinking devils are the source of mental illnesses is absolutely having it incorrect. Problematically, the world reports show that mental health has been the least financially supported of all the health branches, developing countries spend 1% or less whereas the developed countries spend 5%. As a person who has been hurt since my very young age by how people with mental illness were treated, I firmly say that a reflection personally is required to abolish all sorts of stigma few of them mentioned above. Just because the normality standards we set are not met, like every other disease; mental health should be handled with care instead of labels. There is a call to everyone in the health system to provide clear information about mental health, and those on the other side to seek the right information about mental illnesses.
“I used to think that in this world whenever a person needs help will get it, but it is not like that. A person with a broken leg, a cough, a stomachache, a heart disease... will; but not one with depression, anxiety, substance use disorder, personality broadline disorder, … “
“Mental illnesses do not discriminate, why would we do that?”
Mayo Clinic. (n.d.). Mental illness. Retrieved from mayoclinic: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/mental-illness/symptoms-causes/syc-20374968
National Institute of Mental Health. (n.d.). Depression. Retrieved from nimh: https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/depression/index.shtml?
Nordqvis, C. (2017). What is mental health? Retrieved from medicalnewstoday: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/154543.php
WHO. (n.d.). Depression. Retrieved from who: http://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/depression
Writer: Denyse UWAMWEZI , A graduate from New Hampshire University.