Why We Need To Stop Perceiving Mental Illness as a Negative Stigma

**Warning: This article can be triggering to those who suffer from mental illness.**

**The opinions expressed in this article are that of the writers and do not reflect those of Her Campus Wyoming.**

Why is it that our society perceives mental illness in such a negative way? Why is it a topic of conversation that people shy away from and don’t want to discuss? Mental illness is a serious thing and should be talked about. Without having a positive and healthy mental state, one cannot live a successful and happy life. Not only that, but why do people go around throwing terms like “crazy,” or “weird,” like it’s nothing towards anyone who might show somewhat abnormal behavior? It’s not okay and it’s actually pretty disrespectful if you think about it. If you personally have been diagnosed with a mental illness or know someone that has, I think the majority of you would not approve of others’ behavior towards this subject. People who have severe mental illnesses are just that, they are mentally ill. If you think about it, it’s actually a very sad and unfortunate thing.

A person who develops a mental illness should not feel ashamed. Mental illness is not something to be embarrassed about. Sometimes it could be caused by genetics, the environment they grew up in, traumatic experiences or a mentally/emotionally abusive relationship. A mental illness should not be associated as a negative stigma and society should not perceive it that way. If anything, people should show compassion towards a person who might have a mental health condition. Those who do not struggle with mental illness should be fortunate that they don’t have to constantly fight with their mind each day. They should be lucky that they are able to live a regular life without having to control their mind.

There are people out there that have such serious medical conditions that they are unable to have a stable job or communicate with others effectively because of their condition. There are some who are unable to develop any type of close friendships or relationships. A mental illness can literally affect each and every aspect of a person’s life. It’s really a devastating thing to think about. To think about all of those people that don’t have the opportunities that you or I might have because of it.

Yes, there are ways to get help for people who have been diagnosed with a mental illness. However, the problem with some who struggle with one, usually on the more severe side of things, is that they don’t think they need help. To them, this is their normal, and that’s what is so difficult and sad about trying to get someone help. Not only that, but there are so many rules and regulations regarding privacy issues and a multitude of other things that people have to go through that it becomes a hard barrier to cross. The majority of mental health facilities will not let people in unless they’re voluntarily and willing put in the work to recovery and help themselves to create a better life.

But, how can someone do that when they don’t think they are mentally ill in the first place? It’s an ongoing question that I can’t seem to wrap my head around. It honestly boggles my mind how the people who don’t think they need help are the ones that actually do and the ones who think they need help are the ones that actually don’t. In some cases, people who do have a mental illness are also unable to afford the right medical care, so they have to just continue living with their condition. So, with that in mind if you personally are having a hard time mentally, even if it’s something more common, such as depression, don’t feel ashamed to ask for help. Don’t feel bad about wanting to talk to someone, whether that be a close friend, family member, significant other, counselor or doctor. It’s totally okay.

Sometimes things happen in life and it becomes too much for us to handle mentally. If you think getting on medication after talking to a medical provider might be good for you, then do it. But don’t think of medication as if it’s going to fix everything, because it won’t. You have to put in the work and think of ways to improve your life and yourself. If you have more of a mild case of depression, then usually you can eliminate it without medication. For some reason our society nowadays thinks a pill or medication is the answer to everything and it certainly is not. So, keep that in mind when determining how bad your depression actually is. Now, people who are diagnosed with other mental illnesses like bipolar disorder or schizophrenia, those are severe cases that require medical attention and more often than not, medication. People who have these illnesses simply can’t function without their medication and can’t control or help their behavior.

If you’re not struggling but know someone that has a mental illness, be kind and have patience. Even though it’s difficult to put yourself in someone else’s position, try to. If you can’t do that, think about it as if that person was your best friend or family member. You would treat them differently and have compassion because you love them and because you understand how much of a struggle it is for them to have a good or serious conversation with you. Stop thinking of mental illness as a negative stigma.