The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

Dealing with mental health issues should not hold social stigma

There are many, many issues to take a position on when it comes to American society. However, there is one particular topic that I believe needs to be placed at the absolute forefront of discussion and is often shied away from: mental health, and how it affects us all. 

I cannot say that I am unbiased towards this matter; I and many of my loved ones have fallen victim to various emotional and mental issues such as anxiety, depression, dementia, and manic -depressive disorder.

Yet,  too often, I still hear people in my family equate seeing a therapist to being “crazy” and being depressed to being some kind of weakling. Pride has blinded us to the fact that there are just some things within our brains that are out of our control. 

I believe that out of some stubborn attempt to retain autonomy over oneself, it has wrongly become the norm to simply ignore our mental health problems and store them away in the recesses of our minds. 

However, it is clear mental illnesses are not rare. According to the National Society of Mental Illness, 1 in 5 adults in America experience a mental illness. 20 percent of the people we see every day are probably going through some form of trauma that is not obvious to us. 

In a lot of cases, the way we as a culture view mental health issues prevents many people from ever doing something about them. Going to the doctor is seen as just a normal part of life, as it should be. On the flip side, however, seeing a psychiatrist is often a hush-hush affair. 

Many who do deign to attend a therapy session do so with secrecy and shame. Nonetheless, the stigma around seeking mental health treatment does not stop there. 

In some groups it is seen as more than just a sign of weakness—it is cause for discrimination. The Mental Health Organization states, “nearly 9 out of ten people with mental health problems say that stigma and discrimination have a negative effect on their lives.” 

They further claim that people with mental health problems have difficulties finding work, keeping relationships, and even living in decent housing. 

These issues are far greater than just being made fun of by your friends and family. The stigma around mental health problems interferes with the ability to live and work as adults, even if their mental health problems are being successfully treated.  

It is time for this to stop. If society as a whole were to push towards higher standards and treatment for mental health problems, it could cause a massive, unprecedented shift in the overall happiness and productiveness in every facet of our lives. 

It is simply not possible to change the landscape of mental health treatment if no one is willing to bring up the topic of their own state of mental health. 

According to a recent article from the World Psychiatry Association, “Change strategies for public stigma have been grouped into three approaches: protest, education, and contact.” 

This means that by challenging the current standards for mental health, educating the public on mental health issues and actually making the effort to contact and keep up relationships with those affected, we as a society can usher in real change. 

As someone who has seen many forms of mental health issues in a plethora of people, I fully advocate this approach to change. We should not shy away from an issue that is absolutely deserving of our attention. 

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All The Reflector Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Activate Search
The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University
Dealing with mental health issues should not hold social stigma