Granite Bay Today

The stigma surrounding mental health needs to stop

Samreen Siddiqui, Voices editor

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  The subject of mental health has always been a topic that is hard for me to open up about.

  Whenever I start to voice my opinion, I feel myself put this psychological wall up in order to conceal my true feelings about it.

  I blame my hesitation to express my ideas on society’s negative stigma surrounding mental health issues, and the fear I have of venting to the people in my life I care about.

  Furthermore, the existing shame society has put on having psychological illnesses has left me heartbroken.

  People suffer from mental illnesses every day, including some of my close friends and acquaintances.

  I witness them internally and physically struggle with their mental issues every day, and sometimes that struggle is significant.

  And as for me, mental health has and always will leave a lasting impact on me.

  I am not afraid to say that I used to deal with depression and anxiety on a daily basis, and if this truth negatively changes the way you interpret my character, then there is a lot you need to learn.

  Saying that you have trouble coping with your emotions isn’t a cry for attention or a sign of weakness. It is simply stating the truth.

  And with the drastic increase in people struggling with mental illnesses today, would revealing your mental struggles really set you apart from the crowd?

  According to NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, about one out of every five adults experience mental illness each year.

  With how common issues with mental health are, why is there such a negative stigma surrounding it?

  For one thing, emotions are extremely challenging to handle. And with a widespread confusion about a topic, a stigma is likely to develop.

  Some people go through life refusing to acknowledge the things they feel, and trust me, I have been there.

  And there is another side to this circumstance, when every single little emotion that is felt leaves a person’s mind in chaos.

  Both of these conditions explain that, no matter how “crazy” people with mental illnesses seem, there are large doses of humanity in them that can justify the struggles they have.

  And when these people are able to openly talk about their struggles without judgment, recovery can come a lot faster than it would if they remain closed off from the world.

  I didn’t talk about my mental health struggles for years, and I always wonder about how much easier it would have been for me if I defied social judgments and just expressed the truth.

  So, if we start treating people currently dealing with mental illnesses with kindness, acceptance and respect, then a large population of people will be saved from the harsh judgments of others.   

  Let these people visit therapists, let these people feel comfortable enough to talk to you and let these people have time in order to recover from their hardships.

  While I have come a long way from my struggles with mental health, I still have bad days when I feel familiar and emotionally painful symptoms come back.

  But with addressing my views on mental awareness, I hope to help those who are in a similar boat that I was in, and to educate others to assist these people in any way they can.

  Let the negative stigma about those with mental illness stop, because no matter how people view them, their recovery will eventually lead them to being some of the strongest people you will ever get to know.

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The stigma surrounding mental health needs to stop