Mental health: let’s starve the stigma
Today’s post is about Mental health!
Mental health problems are on the rise Globally, although this is a collective problem, it affects each person individually. Since, mental illnesses exist in the mind, it’s personal and not always detectable to those around us. It’s easy to think everyone is okay, because mental illnesses are silent and not always obvious just by looking at someone’s physical appearance.
Mental health problems are also not black and white, this is because each person has their own mind, which contains thoughts that are complex and connected to their own personal experiences.
Mental health awareness is increasing in the UK which is a positive thing! However, Globally there is still much stigmatisation and taboo surrounding mental health creating a barrier in people receiving appropriate care that they require. There are various regions in different continents where people are being left abandoned on the streets or chained up and secluded from society as they are regarded as degenerates and outcasts. This is totally unacceptable and a change is needed. This illtreatment is common in LDC’s. But, even in MDC’s including the UK, the stigma is still alive and active e.g. in some families or households, people cannot share or express their mental struggles due to the fact that different family members may hold mindsets and viewpoints that don’t allow for openess in this area. So people continue to suffer in silence.
Throughout history, the trending misconception about mental illnesses are that they are a result of evil spirits/demons. This is not the case. The brain itself is an organ and like any other organ in our bodies, it’s capable of becoming unwell. Hence, why we need to take care of our mental wellbeing. I believe that the reason for this myth is because, when the brain is not functioning as it should, this affects our behaviours, moods, and feelings… these affects are negative and in different cases the person suffering will display more abnormal or unusual symptoms that we haven’t been able to explain or understand. Therefore, in many cultures when looking back in history when people suffered with mental illness they were misunderstood as evil or possessed. This idea has been a trend that has caused stigmatisation to grow.
In the Bible, evil and demonic spirits are spoken of and are a reality in the spiritual realm. However, we cannot equate mental health problems to being of that nature, only because we don’t understand them. We should begin to look at mental health problems as genuine illnesses, similar to how we perceive other illnesses in our bodies. For example: let’s say someone has a toothache, flu or stomach pain we don’t start to think that they are evil or possessed, but we show concern, love and compassion towards their pain. We should also be considerate of people’s mental pain in the same way. By changing our attitudes, we the people, can begin to starve the stigma!
Thank you for reading! I hope this post was helpful and enlightening.