Why is mental health such a taboo topic?
Believe it or not, revealing that one suffers from mental health is considered to be much harder than admitting a drinking problem or confessing one is gay. In all earnestness, it comes as no surprise. Despite the fact that the world is so modernized and open-minded, mental health still continues to be a taboo. After all, unlike having a drinking problem or being gay, mental health can keep you from keeping a stable job. Being in a stable relationship or having a stable and normal life.
The Stigma of Mental Illness
Despite modernization, mental health continues to be a huge taboo even in modern countries like the UK. Experts believe that discrimination and stigma are one of the main causes that many people with mental illness find it very hard to find help and support. There are still many people who have not overcome their inhibitions about mental illness. They don’t understand the challenges of those who suffer from these diseases. Discrimination is common, and often only exacerbates the problem for patients who seek to live a normal life.
As a result, people who suffer from mental illnesses start to exclude themselves from all social interactions and engagements. They either conceal their diagnosis or shun all social contact, hence perpetuating stigma.
Concealment of mental illness is a double edged sword because:
- Employers cannot adapt a job role or the work structure accordingly. So a person suffering from mental illness can cope up despite his/her challenges
- Since fewer colleagues and friends know of the health problems, prejudices stay unchallenged. An individual may be considered careless or incompetent because their work and interpersonal skills are not at par with others
Also, this makes recovery all the more harder, as lack of social support is both frustrating and demotivating. Patients suffering from mental illnesses require stronger support and understanding. Their challenges are only intensified by the stigmas they face. In poor countries, many patients do not seek treatment as they fear the loss of their reputation, preferring to be socially accepted rather than finding the right treatment.
A Time To Change
Like cancer or heart disease, mental illness is just as real. It is time to understand that mental illness is also caused by many genetic and biological causes. It is actually far more common than we would like to believe.
TV and media have played an important role during recent years, improving the image of mental illness. It’s important that people become more aware of mental health problems. So they can empathize with patients, rather than shun them. The steps we take today in the right direction will change the life of millions tomorrow.