In the United States, startling statistics reveal that around 47.6 million adults, which is approximately 20% of the population, confront mental health challenges. Regrettably, less than half of these individuals reach out for help, and those who do often delay it for up to a decade.
This signifies that many among us are currently wrestling with mental health issues, but due to feelings of stigma or humiliation, they refrain from seeking assistance.
Understanding Mental Health
Although the dialogue around mental health has become increasingly prevalent, the proportion of people accessing the necessary help remains disappointingly inadequate. The primary hindrance is the enduring negative perception associated with mental health disorders.
In the case of physical conditions such as cancer, diabetes, or even a simple bone fracture, Rula professionals usually rally support for the individual, providing much-needed encouragement. This is essential, as research underscores the role of a strong support network in fostering resilience and managing stress during challenging times.
Contrastingly, many people’s approach to mental health issues often lacks empathy. Instead of extending support to those grappling with mental health disorders ranging from mild to severe, we tend to trivialize their struggles with dismissive comments such as “Pull yourself together,” “Stay optimistic,” or “Others are facing worse situations.” Such an attitude of diminishing real emotional distress can compound the problem rather than alleviate it.
1. Anxiety Chic
The romanticization of mental health is more widespread than we often acknowledge, permeating various mediums such as TV shows, ads, music, films, books, and even the fashion industry with its mental illness-themed apparel.
Such idealization is notably apparent on social media. Eating disorders are frequently portrayed as a young girl who aspires to be slim, stops eating, and gradually becomes increasingly frail yet aesthetically pleasing. However, this depiction is far from the truth.
In many cases, eating disorders serve as a control strategy for individuals, either through severe restriction or overconsumption of food, to manage an aspect of their lives when the rest feels unchanging.
The common assumption that anorexia is the default when one hears “eating disorder” further illustrates this romanticization. This perception links eating disorders with the stereotypical model physique, reinforcing the glamorization of such serious health issues.
2. Shouting Loudly
Stigmatization is frustrating, but glamorization is arguably more so as it turns mental illness into a contest of who can vocalize their struggles the loudest.
The issue arises when individuals behavior to have depression just to fit a trend. This leads others to scrutinize their behavior and feelings, setting a perceived standard for how someone with depression should behave.
Such misconceptions can trivialize the illness, making it seem like a minor inconvenience instead of the significant challenge it truly is.
Living with anxiety disorder can evoke feelings of shame and embarrassment, creating a sense of being inferior due to the inability to function normally in everyday situations.
Purchasing and wearing a hoodie with the definition of anxiety emblazoned on the back, essentially advertising the disorder, is unthinkable. Mental illness is a dark reality. The thoughts experienced by those living with these conditions could frighten the average person, and that’s a common sentiment among many who suffer.
3. Stigmatization By the Media
The media is replete with instances of mental health stigma. Take, for instance, conditions like schizophrenia, which are often portrayed as so destabilizing that individuals dealing with them are suggested to be sequestered from society.
The intertwining of mental illness stigma and media is so significant that scientists have utilized newspaper stories as an indirect measure of societal stigma.
Media narratives often spotlight the person suffering from mental illness instead of presenting mental health issues as broader societal concerns. As a result, those who consume media are more prone to attribute the illness to the individual, rather than acknowledging the wider societal factors at play.
Treating mental illness is a possibility. Ensuring your dear ones have the necessary professional assistance when required is paramount.
Tell them that they are not isolated. There’s an extensive array of medical experts, support communities, and other resources available. If you or someone close to you shows signs of mental health issues, consult with a general practitioner or medical expert.