According to Livemint.com, the 21st century has an array of ground-breaking achievements. The world has been seen to have more peace as opposed to civil, imperial, and foreign conflicts. More children in the world are becoming more healthier with the help of vaccines and modern-day medicine. There are larger growing trends in children attending schools in contrast to 2017 where “less than 10% of the world’s primary school-age children were out of school”(Vishnu, A. 2020). Humanity has made significant advancements from world peace to having more children in school. However, despite these achievements, the stigma behind mental illness is still prevalent and continual in today’s society.
Stigmatization is defined as “the expression of negative attitudes and behaviours toward individuals who share a certain characteristic” (Hick & Stokes, 2017). The stigmatization of mental health remains widespread in communities because society is unable to equate the importance of mental health to physical health. People suffering from mental health are outcasted and ostracized due their struggles because society perpetuates negative stereotypes associated with mental health. Furthermore, with these stereotypes that contribute to the stigma of mental health; they inflict more damage upon these individuals, ultimately pushing them to feel isolated and helpless.
Why is destigmatizing mental illness important?
Negative attitudes towards individuals with mental illness further exacerbates the obstacle in which they are facing. In addition, these individuals often self-impose these attitudes, contributing to their deteriorating self-esteem and confidence. These detrimental outcomes of stigma affects one’s life and only serves to damage their wellbeing.
With this said, there are many ways to contribute to ending the stigma and to hopefully mitigate the painful experiences in which individuals are facing. Bell’s “Let’s Talk” Campaign for example helps tackle the stigma by creating awareness and establishing conversation around mental health. The language you use to talk about mental health matters because you don’t want to use terms that perpetuate negative stereotypes surrounding mental health. Listening to affectees, being kind, and talking about mental health, educating oneself contributes to spreading awareness, ultimately fostering a sense of normalcy around the topic of mental health.
Note: The Free Your Mind Mental Health Society is an independent youth-led organization. The contents of this blog are not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. In the event of a medical emergency, please call your doctor or 911 or other local emergency numbers immediately.
Hick, S. F., & Stokes, J. (2017). Mental health and social work practice. In Social work in Canada: An introduction (pp. 217-219). Toronto, Ontario: Thompson.
Vishnu, A.( 2020, January 5). The 21st century’s biggest achievements, in 10 charts. [Blog post]. Retrieved from https://www.livemint.com/news/india/the-21st-century-s-biggest-achievements-in-10-charts-11578235340785.html