Ah, mental health, everyone’s least favorite topic to talk about. But why? Why is mental health so scary to everyone? Our mental health is so important and it needs to be talked about way more. Most people don’t know that I have my bachelors degree in psychology so mental health is even more important to me because I could tell you all about it.
Mental health refers to our cognitive, behavioral and emotional well being, it’s about how we think, feel and behave. Mental health can affect daily life, relationships, and even your physical health. So why is this not talked about more? I’ll tell you why, there is a huge stigma surrounding mental health. A stigma is a mark of disgrace that sets a person apart from others. When people think mental health, they think mental illness and then they think “crazy.” Nobody who has a mental illness is crazy, they are just sick. Just read that sentence again. They. Are. Sick. They didn’t chose this struggle, they didn’t ask for this, their brain is simply sick.
Mental illness refers to a disease (remember they’re sick) that causes mild to severe disturbances in thought and/or behavior, resulting in an inability to cope with life’s ordinary demands and routines. Believe it or not, I have a mental illness. I actually have two mental illnesses. I suffer from anxiety and depression and guess what, I’m not ashamed. 54 million Americans suffer from some form of mental illness. That’s a pretty high number for something to not be not regularly talked about.
People are embarrassed of their mental health, they’re ashamed to talk about it because of the stigma and even more so admitting something is “wrong” with them. When a person is labeled by their illness they are no longer seen as an individual but as part of a stereotyped group. Negative attitudes and beliefs toward this group create prejudice which leads to negative actions and discrimination. Which is just unbelievable in my eyes. Why are we judging people who have no control over their mental illness? You wouldn’t talk negatively about someone with cancer so why is someone with schizophrenia any different? They are both just people trapped inside a sick body.
I will always be an advocate for mental health. I will always talk about it, I will always be open and honest about my own mental health because it is so important. I hope in the future we can talk about mental health without there being a negative stigma behind it. I hope people realize that mental illness is so common and that there isn’t anything wrong with you. I hope people get the help they need, and recover from their mental illness, just like I hope the same for myself.