Mental Health Across the Globe

Mental Illnesses exist everywhere in the world and they're all real, but not every country takes them seriously. Mental Illnesses in some countries are thought to be unreal and are not as serious as other illnesses, some may even think that the person is saying to have a mental illness just to gain attention. Other countries have a great stigma about them and would rather not talk about them, in these countries the people who have mental illness don't seek medical attention and most of them like to think that is something else  just because of the stigma. Below I will compare 5 countries and how they perceive mental health.

  • US

The United States is one of the countries in the world that is making a huge progress towards getting rid of the stigma of mental illness. In the united states celebrities and other influential people have opened about their own experiences dealing with mental illness and this has had a big impact in society. People who suffer mental illness still feel unsecure telling others about it but once they do the support they receive from family and friends is in most of the cases positive. In the US the access to mental health care is good, insurance companies are expected to cover mental illness the same way as a physical illness, but it is not required by law yet to do so. A problem with these is that there are times when there are no available doctors to treat them. Even though the US is one of the countries who have made the most progress towards getting rid of the stigma there is still a lot of work to do.

  • Mexico  

In Mexico, the stigma around mental illness is still present in the society and has become a problem for the people who suffer a mental illness. Depression is one of the most common mental illness that can be seen in Mexico due to several factors such as poverty, discrimination and violence, but the people who have depression would rather hide it from society than receive a proper medical treatment; but an even bigger problem than this is that when the person decides to seek medical attention there is no one to help them. The Mexican health system is not very effective, not even for the physical illness, now picture having a treatment for a mental illness which has such a big stigma of not being a real illness. The total amount of funds from the health spending that go towards covering mental illness from the government in 2016 was 2.5%, because of such a low funding the people who try to get help often become “forgotten” and never receive a proper treatment. With the new generations, the stigma about mental illness is being fought and it is now more acceptable in big cities like Mexico City and Guadalajara but there is so much more to do for people suffering a mental illness in Mexico.

  • Japan

Suicidal rates in Japan are some of the highest in the world, and depression is one of the main causes for it. Japan has one of the greatest health care systems ever, they provide health care for everyone at an affordable price, even for foreigners living in Japan their health care can be cheaper than the one in the U.S, but mental health is not covered by the health care system. The stigma about mental illness in Japan is still pretty bad, 61% of employees in Japan said that they would never hire a person with a mental illness, that's how bad the stigma around mental illness is. Because of this huge stigma around mental illness most people don't seek help, just like in Mexico. When they seek medical attention they have to pay out of pocket for both their doctor sessions and medications which can come to around $100 dollars per session, but not only is it somewhat expensive it is also not  effective since doctors provide high doses of drugs to keep the patient sedated, which is quite alarming.

  • Australia

Mental illness can still be a taboo in Australia and people don't talk openly about it, but younger generations and several associations are fighting this. There are some shows in Australia that talk about mental health and have a whole week program in October dedicated to this topic. Australia has Mental Health Reform as well as a mental health care plan which can cover up to 10 free sessions per year, Australia has made some great innovations with their mental health care system and it can easily be one of the best ones in the world, but the problem with it is that most people do not know about all the possible options offered to them. The lack of education regarding this topic because of the stigma that is still around can become a bigger problem since people may not seek the medical attention due to a lack of knowledge.  

  • Germany

Germany is a country in which most of the people are very open about mental illness, but there are still a few people who don't know how exactly to deal with this topic and might even feel uncomfortable with it.  Some famous personalities such as football star Sebastian Deisler and judge of Germany’s Got Talent Bruce Darnell were open about their mental health to the media. Germany is considered to be the leader in the mental health care system since it provides financial support, help with jobs and to 5 free sessions with the therapist in order to decide whether you feel comfortable with them or not.  Germany provides one of the best mental health care of the world and the stigma surrounding mental illness seems to be disappearing from this country.

Mental Health around the world is perceived very differently and each country has their own opinion about them, countries like Mexico and Japan need to be more open and accepting that mental illness is the same as a physical illness and should stop stigmatizing them. Germany has done a great job with their mental health care plan and I hope that more countries follow them. Mental Illness are just as serious as a Physical one, if you know of someone who is struggling with something, listen to them and help them you can make a huge difference in their life and if you are someone who has a mental illness don't be afraid to seek medical health, there are tons of resources for you and so many people support you!! Let’s all keep fighting to get rid of the Mental Illness stigma and let’s support those who are struggling.