This has become a topic of national debate these days. I’m not sure if it’s because we need to move beyond the stigma of mental health or if it’s just a phase we’ve been going through. It’s not an either/or proposition. The two are not mutually exclusive. The stigma of mental illness is real and it’s certainly not something to go along with our current lifestyle.
So what do we think about the stigma of mental illness? The National Institute of Mental Health has a very helpful page on stigma, and the way it’s being used in mainstream culture is a little alarming, to say the least. One of the biggest problems is that it makes it much more difficult to get help. So people are afraid of asking for help because it’s seen as a sign of weakness or being “unworthy.” The stigma can also be used to prevent anyone from seeking help.
When it comes to mental illness, we are all prone to a few things. One is that we’ve all had some part in some part of it. If you’ve ever been to a hospital, or even seen a therapist it’s pretty obvious that mental illness is one of the most obvious things that you can be diagnosed with.
But its not just about the appearance of mental illness either. People often avoid seeking help because they are afraid of being treated as though they are less than human. If youve ever had a family member say to you, “I dont feel like talking about myself right now” or “Youre never going to change” then you may have experienced that fear. And it can only be overcome if the people around you are also willing to speak up.
The best advice I can give anyone who feels like they may be suffering from mental illness is to go to the nearest health facility and get checked out. It’s also possible to have a mental health professional there to talk to you. And if you are afraid or don’t feel comfortable talking to your health professional, you can always just come to us. This is a great way to get the support you need without putting yourself or others at risk.
In the article I linked to, they said there was a “safe space” in which we could talk without the “hostile” staff getting involved. Well, that’s something. But I think that is a pretty thin line. Even with your health professional there, I can see how the staff might think you are a bit crazy. I mean, a person with some mental illness does not necessarily need to be locked in a mental hospital.
I’ve experienced suicidal ideation myself. And while that might be a lot more common than you might think, a lot of people don’t get it. For example, I had a friend who was suicidal and it was just a matter of time before he killed himself, and I’m not saying that you cannot have a friend who is suicidal, but it is a lot easier to avoid if you are someone who has a mental illness.
The problem is that suicide is a complicated topic to discuss. With the majority of suicides, people are aware it is possible. But even that awareness is not always there. In some cases, people think they would feel better if they did something or they would stop being there. This isn’t necessarily a problem. It’s just a common fear that people have. But a person with a mental illness can still feel the same way.
It is a problem, but its not so much the fact that people feel better because they were aware of the suicide. It is more about the fact that if someone has a mental illness, they are responsible for managing that illness. You can’t just sit around and allow it to control your life. That is like taking a prescription medication and then not taking it for a month or two. You can’t just let it take control. You’ve got to manage it.
When you think about the suicide and mental illness, there is a lot of blame and stigma. But, like I said, suicide is not always about mental illness. Suicide is about the person’s life slipping away from them. It is not about an illness that they have or that they were born with.