Mental illness remains the taboo of our society.
When someone says they have a mental illness, many people automatically believe the individual is crazy or unstable.
As a society and as a community, we must understand that mental illnesses are not as bad as they’re made out to be. Some people live their daily lives without others knowing they have been diagnosed as mentally ill.
We should grow in ways that help those with mental illnesses and find ways to make them feel comfortable in society, instead of viewing them as outsiders.
One in five adults in the United States will experience a mental illness in a given year, according to the National Alliance of Mental Illnesses. That’s about 43.8 million people.
An additional one in 25 U.S. adults will experience a serious mental illness that interferes with or limits major life activities. That’s about 10 million people.
With such high numbers, one would hope society is doing more to normalize mental illness. Unfortunately, it seems we are not.
I didn’t think much about mental illness until I enrolled in an abnormal psychology class. Everything changed when we learned about mental illnesses. My studies provided insight, which started making me more passionate about the subject.
As part of our curriculum, NAMI individuals diagnosed with a mental illness visited the class.
They told us stories about their “dark days,” when they first began to experience a mental illness. They moved on to telling us how they grew from that and were able to continue their lives. One visitor shared his hopes for the future: an end to the stigma that mental illness incapacitates an individual.
He hopes for a day when those with mental illnesses can have checkups with a doctor in the same way in which one would have a physical examination.
His point is worth repeating. People do not become their illness. They are still human beings.
Filed Under: Opinion
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