How can a country that prides itself on healthcare policies view mental illness as a second or third priority? What I hope for is the day mental illness is treated with the same importance and seriousness as any other illness. Mental illness is, after all, a brain disorder.
We see sights like the one above on the train. It almost becomes parts of our daily routine. I was a commuter on the train recently, on my way to many different job interviews. These two issues etched a thought in my mind: (1) How many people I see out and about suffer from some form of mental illness?; and (2) Am I going to face the same stigma because I am ill?
To say that mental health and mental illnesses are plagued by stigma is a gross understatement. Yet, after one of the most successful decades into looking at neurology, we still see poor mental health and mental illness as a form of personal weakness and indulgence. This stigma that we put on people (or even ourselves) could shame them or others into not seeking treatment. Even if they do seek treatment, they can go through a nightmarish lonely recovery.
We have an education system that makes our students masters in Math and Science. This was posted by Claire last week. But I believe that this comes from a larger issue. Through some research, we might have the best system that makes our students masters in Math and Science, but the education system is backward in terms of helping our students grow and mature as students.
We don’t really talk about mental health. It’s an issue that we need to talk about more but the only times we tend to talk about them is when something bad happens. I was inspired to write an article about the state of conversation about mental health after a conversation with a rather important figure in my life growing up.
I have never fessed up and actually recognised where my thoughts go sometimes. But the fact that I cannot care for myself, the fact that I cannot remember when was the last time I was happy and the fact that I do not see myself as a living being in the coming years scare me. It should scare others around me more than it does, and that is why I fight stigma.