Indians often take pride in their rich culture: in their religions, languages, dance, music, architecture and food. However, sadly, the Indian society still looks down upon people suffering from mental illnesses. A mental illness in the Indian society is not understood and is often stigmatized.
Stigmas associated with mental illness are the misguided views that individuals who are undergoing psychological and emotional distress are different from us. However, all humans experience distress in varying degrees in everyday life. In the olden days, people used to believe that mental health issues are caused by the possession of some demonic or spiritual possession which led to fear and discrimination.
It is not easy for people to come forward and talk if they are experiencing difficulties coping with stressful circumstances, if they feel sad or anxious, or if they feel lost. The stigmas surrounding mental health make it even harder to do so. These stigmas can worsen the person’s mental and physical health. They lead to discrimination, withdrawal and social isolation. This discrimination can either be direct or it can indirect. Direct discrimination can be passing off rude remarks about someone’s mental health and making them feel worse about themselves. Indirect discrimination can be avoiding the person who if suffering from some mental illness, assuming that the person may be violent or unstable.
Sadly, people believe that people suffering from mental illnesses cannot be cured and therapy is a waste of time.
Harmful effects of mental health stigmas:
- Family, friends and peers at work do not understand what the individual is going through. People either try to avoid talking about the subject or completely ignore the person.
- People who are suffering from a mental illness are reluctant to go for therapy and seek help. They consider it as a shame or a disability and choose to keep mum about it.
- People who are suffering from mental illnesses get harassed or bullied by others.
- There are less job opportunities for people who are suffering from mental health issues.
- Health insurance doesn’t adequately cover the treatment of mental illnesses.
Anyone can suffer from a mental illness. One does not realize it but young children can also suffer from mental health issues. It is very important to understand the signs of people who are suffering from a mental illness, provide social support, and adequate treatment for it.
This post is my first post of Blogchatter's Cause a Chatter . In my next post, I will explain how the stigmas are different for both adults and children and how to help overcome these stigmas.