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What comes to mind when you think of a person with a mental illness? Do you steer clear of and distance yourself socially from people who suffer from mental illness? Do you think of someone who is dangerous or harmful to your well being? This is the result of mental health and illness stigmas.
The World Health Organization and the World Economic Forum report that mental illness constitutes the largest economic implication of any health affair in the world. Can you believe that of the 450 million people globally who suffer from mental illness, the majority do not receive any help whatsoever? Research supports that a large majority of people hold negative stereotypes and attitudes to people who suffer from mental illness. In the world today you may hear adults and children state that someone is, "crazy" or "weird." This is one of the outcomes of the negative perception that is cast upon mental illness.
I myself have struggled with mental illness for many years now. There are so many myths about mental illness. The first myth I would like to bust is: physical health problems are worse than mental problems. Mental illnesses are the same as any other disease such as heart disease, asthma, or diabetes. With the exception that it does not receive the same commiseration. No one brings you get well cards or flowers, mental illness is denied the same sympathy that physical illnesses receive. Honestly, you can't see how much a person can be suffering on the inside, just because you can't see it doesn't mean it isn't there. Mental illness can feel painful, if not more than physical illness, trust me, I've been there and honestly, I'd rather have a broken arm than deal with my mental illness some days.
Misconception two: all people with mental illnesses are dangerous. Absolutely not, some people are under the impression that there is an automated connection between mental health problems and violence. This is a proposition that is strengthened by exaggerated stories in media. In fact, the most common mental illnesses are not connected or linked to violence in any way. The amount of people who deal with mental illness who commit violent crimes is very small. There are literally so many reasons that someone would commit a violent crime, such as being under the influence of alcohol or drugs, which are much more likely to lead someone to commit violent acts. It's honestly so sad hearing someone who struggles with mental illness do not seek help because the fear of people thinking they are dangerous. The stigma of being dangerous is the absolute worst for me. I am a caring and empathetic person who would never hurt anyone.
Misconception three: only certain people have mental health. False, we all have mental health. Some people just have it worse than others.
Misconception four: mental health problems are a sign of weakness. Mental health problems are most definitely not a sign of weakness just like a broken arm is not. They are a habitual part of the human experience. They can happen to literally anyone from any branch of life. In fact, many inspiring people have experienced these problems and feel as if it has only made them stronger. I for one would have to agree that I am so much stronger than before, I've been through a lot, struggled, and even wanted to give up. I still struggle every day but I'm still here. To be completely honest there is nothing stronger than fighting a war within yourself and continuing to fight that fight every day. At the end of the day, I know I come out on top and beat the odds because I am still here today fighting. That just makes me one bada** woman.
Mental health problems are rare. This is false, they are very common, as a matter of fact, you probably know someone who has or is affected by mental health problems and. One in four people will encounter a mental health problem in their lifetime.
You can't recover from mental illness. That is one of the biggest misconceptions, mental problems do not define a person and their potential in life. Of course, recovery is possible with the right support and guidance. With this people can and do go on to lead a very fulfilling and rewarding life.
We need to stop stereotyping mental illness. Stigma only hurts those who are affected by mental illness and more people should be educated upon the subject. To those who suffer: we are strong and will get through this together.