Sadly … this is true, even today. In fact, many people with mental health disorders still do not reach out for help, and one large contributing factor is the stigma that still exists. The World Health Organization states that mental illness costs more than any other health issue.
Reportedly, 60% of the 450 million people in the world who suffer with mental health problems do not get care. Ninety percent of people who get no care are in developing countries.
Shocking statistics? You bet they are. According to research, most people still have negative attitudes and stereotype those with mental health issues, no matter what the cause of the disorders. Many think such individuals grappling with mental illness are dangerous. Yet they may be close personal friends and family members.
Because of this, people struggling with mental health disorders often become isolated. This has the power to feed into the problems, perhaps making depression and anxiety – two examples – worse. These individuals are subjected to bullying, discrimination, and rejection.
Unfortunately, this can lead to internalizing the prejudice, and many develop a type of self-stigma, making the situation more complex.
Most mental health disorders are treatable to a large degree. Diet, of course, can play a crucial role in mood disorders. Ditching most of the grains and sugars out of the food we eat may make a highly significant difference in a person’s self-efficacy and self-esteem, in addition to treatment. Making treatment more accessible is, of course, necessary.
Education is one of our most effective tools against any kind of ignorance, bullying, bias, prejudice, and stereotyping. Why not include this in elementary, middle school, and high school curricula? It is relevant to health class and perhaps others.
The Mental Health Association GC calls for “supportive and nurturing school communities [which are] conducive to mental wellbeing.” We should include our young people in bringing a solution to stigma.
Have a happy and holistic day!
- Dr. P