Symptoms of mental illnesses used to be thought to be signs of demonic possession or a curse put on the person. Thankfully, we’ve moved on from that kind of regressive thinking and have begun to acknowledge the true causes of mental illnesses and accumulate more information about its causes and treatments.
Even though there has tremendous progress being made in the field of psychology, society – particularly Asians and Middle Eastern societies – still view mental disorder as something to be ashamed of. When I was 16, I told my mother that I would like to have a simple psychiatric evaluation. My mother was appalled. She completely shut down the idea and told me never to say something like that in front of others for the fear of them thinking that I was “crazy.”
1 in 4 people will be affected by mental or neurological disorders at some point in their lives, according to the World Health Organisation. More than half of those with mental disorders go untreated.
“Mental illness is not a personal failure. In fact, if there is failure, it is to be found in the way we have responded to people with mental and brain disorders,” said Dr Gro Harlem Brundtland, Director-General of WHO, on releasing the World Health Report.
Mental illnesses are not things you can control. They creep up on you, silent like a shadow until they take over your life and influence everything you do and every decision you make. The fact remains that people relentlessly dismiss mental health issues as trivial or “imaginary”. Currently, more than 40% of countries have no mental health policy and over 30% have no mental health programme. Around 25% of countries have no mental health legislation. We lose people with treatable mental disorders to suicide every year because they feel like they will be shunned and told: “it’s all in your head”. Is human life so disposable to us as a society that we can’t be bothered to put in measures to help save it?
Mental illnesses aren’t all in your head either. They are caused by changes in your brain chemistry and can begin taking a subsequent toll on your mental health very quickly. Even when such physical effects manifest, they are not acknowledged as the result of mental issues.
If Physical Illnesses Were Treated Like Mental Illnesses
Physical Illnesses VS Mental Illnesses
Do not be ashamed. Do not ignore it. The more outspoken we are, the more we bring about the changes we need. Your mental health is arguably even more important than your physical health because when your brain is sick, everything else is affected. We are put under so much pressure by society to not be a burden that we can’t even seem to grab onto an offered life-preserver when we’re drowning. Be brave; asking for help does not make you a failure. No one ever thrived in this world without some help along the way.
Suicide Prevention chat: http://www.suicidestop.com/suicide_prevention_chat_international.html
The IWRC (Indian Workers Resource Center) hotline can be reached at 800 46342. (It was made for Indian workers in the UAE but if you need help, they will not refuse you.)