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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at MSU chapter.

Believe it or not, mental illnesses are genetic or can be caused by a reaction to environmental stressors or biochemical imbalances. They are completely normal and most times, out of your control. However, the stigmas surrounding mental health makes it even harder for those to admit that they have a mental health problem. People tend to not view mental illnesses as an actual illness and view it more as the person’s fault. 


There are so many stigmas about mental health that make people view it as a “bad” thing, which it is, but it doesn’t make the person “bad”. In the movies, the villain often has some kind of mental illness that makes people think that all people with mental illnesses are bound to go “crazy” at some point. People often say that someone with a mental illness can “snap out of it” or “try harder” to overcome it. They downplay the seriousness of the illness and the inability to control it. The people that think this really just don’t know anything about mental illnesses and lack understanding of them. 


The truth is that you can’t just snap out of a mental illness or try harder to overcome it. Trust me, if you could, I am sure people would have done it by now. These stigmas and lack of knowledge about mental illnesses impact people with mental illnesses more than you think. As I said before, when people see having a mental illness as being “crazy”, people are less likely to seek help and tell their family about their mental illness out of fear that they will be judged or seen as “less than”. Without the help and support they need, it could lead to worse psychological well-being, isolation, and feelings of shame. 


Overcoming the stigma surrounding mental health can be hard, especially if it is happening directly to you. To combat this, it is good to remember that you are not the only one with a mental illness. In 2019, there were 51.5 million people in the United States diagnosed with a mental illness, which makes it about 1 in 5 people. Though it may be difficult, you can educate the people around you about mental illness, talk about how common it actually is, and debunk the myths. As scientists learn more about the truths behind mental illness, there is hope that one day it will be completely normalized and the stigma will decline. 


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