Mental Health has been in the news a lot recently. Since the death of Robin Williams people are starting to realise that mental illness is a real illness, not just someone attention seeking. Recently at college I have been completing a research methods assignment and have been researching mental health stigma. This is a topic very close to me as I have suffered from mental health and know many people who have also suffered.
Why is mental health not treated as severe as it should be? In my own personal experience it took over 11 months from the time I first went to the doctors to the time I went to my first counselling session. Whereas if someone has suspected cancer, you have to be referred to a specialist within 2 weeks. Mental health can be just as dangerous as cancer so why is it not treated so urgently? Why is it acceptable to leave someone untreated for so long?
Someone else I know was referred to CAHMS (Child and adolescence mental health service) again having to wait a year before being seen, when she was seen the counselors tended to care more about bitching about the other staff rather than helping them though their mental health illness. After a suicide attempt, they were referred to the adult mental health service, only to receive a letter of discharge a few weeks later stating that their services ‘where not right for her’. How is this acceptable within society? This person clearly desperately needed life saving treatment, but were denied this. I’m positive that this would not be allowed to happen with any other disease out there.
1 in 4 people suffer from a mental health problem at some point during their lifetime. When conducting my research, I found that lots of people believed that it was a lot less, around 1 in 10 people. This shows how people are not aware of mental health, not aware of how big the problem is. How much it needs to be talked about. With a problem that is so widespread, why is it not seen more urgently?
In society there is a mental health stigma, this means that people have negative attitudes around mental health problems. Three out of four people who suffer from a mental health problem will suffer negativity because of their mental health issue. People believe that mental health can be a sign of weakness. I believe it is a sign of strength. Being able to work through something like that and get on with your life is an incredibly hard task and to anyone who manages to do this, i applaud you.
80% of people I asked said that they believed that there was a mental health stigma within society. I also asked them why they believed there was if they said yes. From these findings and from using secondary resources I have found that one of the main reasons there is a mental health stigma is due to lack of education. Mental health needs to be talked about more, it needs to become accepted in society. People need not be afraid of speaking out and telling others about their mental state, they need not be ashamed. Therefore I challenge you to talk about mental health. If you are suffering or know someone who is, do not stigmatize the issue even more. Speak up. Help save life’s and be more understanding. The only way we can overcome the stigma and the long waiting lists is by talking.
Speak up lovelies.
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