Your mind says who you are: Mental health is as important as physical health

The mind can make you win and make you lose, even when you’re on the verge of winning. To be jovial and successful, your mind must be healthy, happy and well- occupied. Now, the question may appear in your head that how your mind plays a role in your success and how you can know that your mental health is alright and you are really happy. According to WHO, “Mental health is a state of well-being in which an individual realizes his or her abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and can make a contribution to his or her community.”

The WHO stresses that mental health is “More than just the absence of mental disorders or disabilities.” Peak mental health is about not only avoiding active conditions but also looking after ongoing wellness and happiness.

But to our grievances, most of us overlook our mental health and are suffering more or less from mental illness. In addition to this to make it worst, there now exists a stigma to your mental illness. Before speaking about the stigma of mental illness, let us clarify what are the types of mental illness. According to The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth
Edition (DSM-5) there are about 500 mental illness listed, among which some major ones are

  • BIPOLAR DISORDER
  • PERSISTENT DEPRESSIVE DISORDER
  • MAJOR DEPRESSIVE DISORDER
  • GENERALISED ANXIETY DISORDER
  • OBSESSIVE-COMPULSIVE DISORDER
  • POST-TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER
  • SCHIZOPHRENIA
  • SOCIAL-ANXIETY DISORDER

To cope up with any of the above, you need medical assistance and support from your family and near ones. They are just like any other disease which can be cured if you take proper assistance, but here comes stigma to play its role. Now, one may ask how stigma plays a role in mental illness. According to Bill Clinton, “Mental illness is nothing to be ashamed of but stigma and bias shame us all.” Many of us may be aware of mental illness, but not with the stigma of it. Mental stigma can lead to a simple mental illness to the worst condition. Stigma can be portrayed when you call someone with mental illness as ‘dangerous’,’crazy’, or ‘incompetent’.
Stigma can lead someone who is mentally ill to feeling discriminated and he/she may miss out on daily work and achievement, bullied, or can be a victim of violence. And to the utmost, they can even deny medical assistance when they need it.

Mental stigma can be distinguished into 2 types:

  • Social Stigma
  • Self or perceived Stigma

where social stigma is characterised by prejudicial attitudes and discriminating behaviour directed towards individuals with mental health problems as a result of the psychiatric label they have been given and self-stigma is the internalising by the mental health sufferer of their perceptions of discrimination, and perceived stigma can significantly affect feelings of shame and lead to poorer treatment outcomes.

So to deal with mental illness first deal with overcoming and reducing the mental stigma. To reduce and overcoming it the person who is suffering and people around him/her may follow these simple steps –

  • Talk openly about mental health for yourself or others, just speak about it
  • Properly educate yourself and others
  • Be conscious of your language
  • Encourage equality between physical and mental illness; both harm you in an equal way
  • Choose empowerment over shame
  • Be honest about your treatment
  • Let someone know when they are being stigmatised
  • Try not to harbour self-stigma

Last but not the least, the most probable question which may come up that how mental stigma can be eliminated?

It can be done only when you understand how stigma can affect the sufferers and the route to their recovery. Your attention can be the most effective way to eliminate mental stigma and discrimination and shedding of your negative beliefs about mental illness.

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