Let’s admit it, people in today’s world still have irrational and unfounded views about mental illness. Well, everyone knows that mental health still remains a stigma in our society, just like having periods and being queer, no? Yes, we do talk about it, but what if someone from your friend circle or family faces a mental health issue. Will you accept it, or say “Arre tum zyada soch rahe ho, kuch din mein thik ho jayega? (You are overthinking, give it a few days, it will get better)” To us, it might just be overthinking, but to the person who is facing this, it might be watching their whole life crash or tumble from a cliff.
People in our society often label them as a psycho, maniac, lunatic and words that are really harsh. We aren’t helping them in any way by saying all this. Instead, we are pushing them towards the edge of a cliff and forcing them to jump. All we are doing is just increasing the stigma around us. It is not a shameful thing to have mental health issues. It is just like another issue that any other part of your body may face. Why do we create so much negativity about it?
We make them build walls around themselves. Why do we make them feel embarrassed or shameful and look at them like they have committed a crime? We make them lose out on the social support that they need. Why does talking about mental health make us uncomfortable? There are, in fact, a large number of people facing mental health issues, surprising isn’t it? A person can still face mental illness without experiencing sadness; depression isn’t the only mental health disorder.
Everyone in the world can face mental health issues; it could be a singer, actor or a celebrity. We should thank Bollywood for creating such a negative image of people with illnesses, that they are considered anti-social, aggressive or and frightening. It’s time now to talk about mental health openly rather than running away from it.
People who face all these issues avoid talking about them. Do you know why? Because they feel they are inviting trouble for themselves. Well, in a way, they are correct because we have spoken shit out of mouth, haven’t we? “Yaar tum toh defective piece ho (You are a defective piece)” or “Aisa kuch nahi hota (There is nothing like this)“ is what we say.
Such insensitive stigmatisation and stereotyping make them feel worse. We need more of these stigma busters. Stigma is a word no one understands well enough. It’s deeper than the beliefs people are conscious of. Discrimination is not only related to race, gender or religious belief.
Ignorance about mental illness causes isolation and prevents sufferers from living life to the full. One in four people will have mental health problems at some point in their life, but many more have a problem with that. When people cannot distinguish the difference between mental illness and learning disabilities, it’s disheartening. The more the stigmas, the fewer people will seek help. That is not accurate. Stigma is unquestionably still a significant issue. And we should avoid discriminating.
Individuals actually need to make a concerted attempt to do something about dealing with preconceived notions. Let’s take a look at several things that hardly take any effort to make life less difficult for an individual, especially when the life of that person is already more challenging than it should be. Rather than adding on to their issues and making their lives harder, we must try and do our part to ease the difficulties people face. Let’s make a difference. Be it in general, at the workplace, with friends or family.
When coping with a mental or physical disorder, a person should not have to feel bad or guilty. Respect your employees and colleagues if someone in your workplace expresses that they have been denigrated because of a work colleague. Treat it no differently than someone who discriminates against a person based on their gender or colour. When anyone wants items that have been explained more than once or explained in another way, don’t try to abandon them or make them feel dumb. Explain it so they understand, rather than threatening them.
Help your child understand and navigate through mental health. Think of what you’re doing to make their lives simpler and also what you’re doing to make their lives tougher. Don’t make them feel like they’re a burden. Do things to help build up your child so others won’t be able to break them down. Respect their limits. Don’t make them feel bad or guilty for needing medication.
Mental disorders are not deficiencies of character; they are legitimate medical conditions. Discrimination is a difference based on race, religion, ethnicity, and yes, mental illness. For some reason, our society shows more hopelessness to mental health issues than empathy, which is something we should be ashamed of, especially when the life of a person is perceived with so little value. We should be ashamed that we cannot see beyond our own unempathetic opinions.