Since Mental Health Awareness Day is around the corner, it is very important not only to talk about the importance of the day, but also spread awareness about the issues surrounding it.
Social stigma can exist unequivocally or may sometimes go unnoticed especially in a country like India. Stigma is when someone negatively views you or may have a negative attitude towards you. Unfortunately, negative attitudes and beliefs towards people with mental health issues are quite common in India.
Stigma can lead to discrimination and it may be obvious and direct, like someone making a negative remark about your mental illness or your treatment. Or sometimes, it may be unintentional or subtle. Someone may intentionally start avoiding you just because he/she assumes you to be mentally unstable, violent. He may think that your can harm them since your suffering from one or another mental illness.
Here are some reasons why the stigma towards mental health continues to exist in the world:
Lack of general awareness and understanding of mental health
Lack of awareness and understanding of mental health is the biggest problems. There is a continuation of certain beliefs that are perpetuated about people with a mental health issue. People may say that people suffering from mental ailments are overdramatic or they are making up their problem or they are over-sensitive. This can have negative implications on the family and the person in the future.
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Misguidance by media
Media plays an important role in this as it could misguide us to follow some incorrect manners to deal with mental health problems. It can also play a part in perpetuating age old myths about mental health problems. This misinformation can lead to creating a stigma surrounding any mental health issue.
Using incorrect psychological narratives in our daily conversation
Using words like mental, pagal, psycho or crazy or even saying things like ‘I am depressed’ Or I am so OCD’, or calling someone a bipolar is something which devalues the intensity of the problem.
Memes or Dark Humor
Humor could deride the emotional expression of the person with a mental illness and could trigger inferiority complex in people who are sufferings from mental health issues. They may wonder if they are suffering from a serious health problem or not, leading to their decision to postpone or delay the treatment of any urgent mental health issue.
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Lack of governmental recognition
The lack of governmental recognition, funding laws, or policies in support of mental health are some of the biggest stumbling blocks towards the proper treatment of mental health problems. Lack of funds and inadequate laws for dealing with mental health issues are also some of the reasons why people dealing with mental health issues in India suffer.