Imagine being blamed or made fun of for having cancer. That is the same as being blamed for having a mental illness like depression, bipolar disorder, or anxiety. That sounds preposterous, right? Well, it happens everyday. Mental illnesses are conditions that affects a person’s thinking, feeling or mood. 1 in 5 adults experiences a mental health condition every year. Around 54 million people suffer from one or more mental illnesses out of the 200 classified mental illnesses. Anyone can be struggling with a mental illness, and it can also seem different for everyone struggling.
They should be treated the same as physical illnesses and not have a stigma built around them and sadly, the issue is that mental health and mental illness is not taken as serious as they should be. People claim they are not important and not as dreadful as a physical illness, just because one cannot physically see the illness. Here are some reasons for why mental illnesses are just as important as physical illnesses, and maybe even more. Mental illnesses are hard to deal with, for the person dealing with it and the people around them.
People with mental illnesses are usually made fun of and that needs to be stopped, as it is something that can really hurt society. These illnesses are exhausting to live with and when people make fun of it or ignore it as it not being a plausible problem, that makes it even worse. Anyone can be struggling with a mental illness, and it can also seem different for everyone struggling. People do not get blamed or find fault of having a physical illness, but someone knows about a mental illness and they will run the opposite way.
Lindsay Holmes, from The Huffington Post, states: “Experts say that part of the problem when it comes to criticizing someone’s mental health is a lack of empathy and knowledge about the ailments. Yet, despite the staggering evidence and rhetoric aimed at helping people understand, many people still don’t comprehend that being diagnosed with a mental illness isn’t something that’s in their control — just like having the flu, or food poisoning, or cancer isn’t in their control” (Holmes). Sadly, that is true.
There are usually not people who are made fun of having cancer or having the cold, but if someone has depression or anxiety, they are seen as a completely strange and insane person. Many people are not accepting of mental illnesses being real illnesses because it is sometimes not noticeable from the human eye. That does not mean that they do not exist. Since it is a mental illness, it is usually in the brain or mind. “On this view, we have conquered our former ignorance and now know that mental illness exists, even though there is a great deal of further research to be done on the causes and treatment of mental illness.
Evidence from anthropological studies makes it clear that some mental illnesses are expressed differently in different cultures and it is also clear that non-Western cultures often have a different way of thinking about mental illness. For example, some cultures may see trance-like states as a form of possession” (The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy). Having a mental illness feels like a burden that no one can understand unless one has the mental illness. It is immensely upsetting to see those struggling and being made fun of just because they may have a different personality than others.
Mental illnesses are not excuses to make fun of someone and never has been. People should try and understand how to deal with those that have them and not just ignore them. Mental illnesses should be not made fun of. If someone in this society had cancer, people would not tease them. There is a stigma built around having a mental illness and it is upsetting. Just like a person with cancer, people who struggle with mental illnesses do not necessarily choose to have them. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), in a given year, the burden of seriously debilitating mental illness afflicts about 6 percent or 1 in 17 adults in the United States” (Scripps. edu). If it is this serious and prevalent, why are people treating it like it is nothing? It is not a joke and never will be. It does not seem right to taunt and tease others, just because they have a mental illness. They are still human and they still deserve to be treated the same as everyone else.
A mental illness does not have one shape. It is awful to have and people that do not have them are often so easy to judge what they do not have or understand. Mental Health Reporting says, “Mental disorders are common in the United States and internationally. An estimated 26. 2 percent of Americans ages 18 and older — about one in four adults — experience a diagnosable mental disorder in a given year. When applied to the 2004 U. S. Census residential population estimate for ages 18 and older, this figure translates to 57. 7 million people. So many statistics out there in the world, and yet not everyone will take it as serious as they should. No one takes it seriously until it happens to them. It does not make sense for people to criticize what they think they understand or know. More people have to learn and be prepared about the situation or it can become atrocious later on. When a mental illness is present, it usually does not get treated right away, and sometimes it is not curable, but just needed to be dealt with. A mental illness can make a person think horrible thoughts and sometimes it can lead to self-harm, or suicide.
The Surgeon General of the United States has identified stigma as a significant obstacle to the treatment of mental disorders. Also, the Journal of Mental Health (June 2003) states that 1301 people with SMI reported that their experiences of stigmatization are responsible for their feeling discouraged, hurt, and angry, and for lowering their self-esteem and with that, 70% of respondents indicated that others treated them as less competent after their mental health status was known, and 60% reported being rejected or avoided at times.
An example given by Ashley Maria Perrone is how when Kanye West, a famous rap singer, was taken off stage for “absurd behavior”, when it was something serious, and the radio started to make fun of Kanye, as if it was some kind of joke, and how he got put into a 5150 hold by calling him ridiculous and abnormal. They also completely forgot about Kanye’s past and his depression. As excruciating as it is, the media likes to make people going through mental illnesses disparate, like they are not normal people.
That shows how one should not judge someone just by what they see. Certainly, it is even possible for one to have multiple mental illnesses. The most two common ones are anxiety and depression. Mental illnesses prevent a person from living their potential, happy life. Robert J. Szczerba believes that:“As with most mental diseases, the causes are often unknown and from this lack of proper understanding, the social callous arises. Mental diseases can have a significant adverse effect on patients, in no small part due to lack of understanding by others.
Many may believe the patient is at fault or is in control of their affliction, which can lead to insensitive or uneducated statements such as “Have you tried…you know…not being depressed? ” There are even some professors that do not believe a personal issue is a real excuse for being gone, and that it had to be a “real illness” to make sense. People do not choose when they want to have a mental illness and people have to understand.
Many believe that physical illnesses are a bit worse, since it is a body part that is “sick” and that they can also spiral into having a mental illness, which is true however, but does anyone stop to think about how a mental illness can cause a physical illness as well? Michael Karson from Psychology Today believes that the first mistake people make is the way people lump primarily biological illnesses in with primarily behavioral problems. A physical illness obviously has its ups and downs, but what about a mental illness? Does that mean there are absolutely no ups and downs from a mental illness?
Others believe that people with physical illnesses want to get better, but people with mental illnesses do not seem to be interested in fixing the problem. Has it occurred to anyone that people might possibly not be able to get help for their illness? While it makes sense to see why physical illnesses are much more important than mental illnesses, it is not fair that people do not taunt people with a broken leg or arm, but as soon as someone learns about someone else’s mental state, they tend to look away, ignore it, or step back.
Mental illnesses need to be understood more by others so it does not develop into mockery and people can better understand it, so this society can be more accepting. Once people learn to take mental illnesses as serious as physical illnesses, it can certainly help make the world a better place. Physical illnesses and mental illnesses are obviously not the same, hence the different name, but they both are important and deserved to be treated and not ignored. Mental illnesses are just as significant as physical illnesses, and people need to take them more seriously.