The Mental Stigma

October 23, 2012
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The stigmatization of mental illness needs to end. It’s harmful to those suffering from it and is detrimental to how they are treated by society. Even seemingly harmless behaviors can have a tremendous negative impact. TV shows using villains with mental disorders, people dressing up as mental patients for Halloween, and the failure to take mental health issues seriously have slowly destroyed any respect for mental conditions and along with it the individuals suffering from it. This stigma, though deeply rooted, must be removed. The social repercussions it brings on are crippling. Society begins to view individuals with psychological conditions as dangerous, violent, and crazed. These views are incredibly harmful. They impact the chances of recovery and discourage people in abnormal mental states from getting the help they need. Up to two thirds of people with mental illness suffer in silence, too fearful of how society will treat them to take action against the disease. Mental illness of any kind is not funny or any less serious than other diseases, and writing it off as such only reinforces fears and misunderstandings. Fortunately, there are methods to combat this intolerable way of thinking. Don’t make jokes or broad assumptions about mental disorders and correct those who do. The first step towards stamping out the undeserved mark of shame on mental illness is nothing but thinking before speaking and exercising basic courtesy towards others.

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