The Stigma in the Shadows

It’s a symptom of a type of disturbance in the chemical-electrical activity of the brain. In the case of your daughter, in the temporal lobe – it’s up here – in the lateral part of the brain. It’s rare, but it does cause bizarre hallucinations and usually just before a convulsion.

Dr. Klein

The Excorist  

Living with a mental illness is like living in a horror movie.  The sinister disease lurks in the shadows and captures its victims during the most unsuspecting moments.  Depression, Schizophrenia, Substance Abuse, and Monsters of all kinds possess over 43 million Americans.  If mental illness was on VHS, it would be the complete Friday the 13th box set lol.

Spoiler: Jason never dies

And yet if it’s such an evidently destructive disease- why do we continue to ignore the outbreak among us?

According to the World Health Report, 450 million people worldwide have been clinically diagnosed with a mental health disorder or disability.  While treatments are available, nearly two-thirds of the people with a known mental disorder never seek treatment.  Children and young adults, especially, are plagued by the wretched power of mental illness.  According to an article published on the Teen Mental Health Website, “1 in 5 young people suffer from a mental illness, that’s 20 percent of our population but yet only about 4 percent of the total health care budget is spent on our mental health.”

We shell out thousands of dollars for items that promise to enhance our physical beauty, but pay no mind to the value of our inner beauty.  The average consumer is so caught up in the idea of physical perfection, that they often forget to realize that they are inherently imperfect and sometimes broken beings.

So the question remains: Why is there still a stigma surrounding mental illness?

Some believe that mental health and its disorders are not real, but are rather a figment of the imagination brought on by the mass media.  Certain cultures stand by the belief that mental illnesses are the work of an evil, supernatural force.  And there are those that are completely unaware of its existence.

This stigma associated with mental illness is mental!  Mental illness does not recognize one true face or environment.  It has the ability to affect everyone regardless of race, religion, age, and environment.

I believe that in order to uncover the cloaked topic of mental illness- we need to educate, broadcast, and support what lies beneath the stigma.  My mental ideas are as follows:

  • I propose schools to discuss and educate the importance of maintaining both physical and mental health during its Health and Fitness classes.
  • Workplaces need to offer education, aid, and allotted time off for the benefit of its people and culture.
  • More communities should provide accessible mental health facilities and community-based healthcare to those affected by the disease.

Whether you agree or disagree with my ideas, it’s crucial that we find a way to erase the stigma surrounding mental health sooner rather than later.

As of 2016, there was an average of 123 suicides committed each day.  During this time, 44,965 Americans lost their lives each year.  What’s more frightening is that we spent a total of 69 billion dollars in these suicide-related costs.  That’s 69 billion dollars that could have gone to treatment and affordable health care for those living with severe mental illnesses or suicidal tendencies!

We can help prevent confusion, crimes, and even death if we speak up for mental health.  If we continue to reject and stigmatize mental illness- we reject not only those living in the horror movie, but we reject ourselves in the process.

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