What is normal? Why are we scared about mental illnesses?
Mental illnesses are still feared and misunderstood by many people. There is only one reason for this fear: lack of knowledge. The fear will disappear as people learn more about mental illnesses.
Lack of knowledge is causing stigmatization
Much has been done in the past decades. The public acceptance of disease like depression is completely changed compared to let’s say twenty years ago. However, mental disorders are still stigmatized and much needs to be done to change this.
Stigmatization and prejudices are the reasons why people don’t speak in public about mental illnesses, why people are ashamed of their disease and why too many sufferers are not seeking help.
Mental diseases belong to the most common diseases in the world
Mental disorders – including depression, bipolar, anxiety, ADHD, schizophrenia, eating, somatoform and sleeping disorders – belong to the most common diseases in the world. Trying not to speak about the most common diseases in the world is a useless but harmful attempt.
Stigmatization causes unnecessary suffering
The worst about stigmatization is the fact that people suffer unnecessarily. Many people are suffering from a mental disease but are too ashamed to seek help. That’s the worst case scenario. Most people are not even aware of the fact that all mental illnesses can be treated.
We need to speak openly about mental illness, raise awareness, spread knowledge and make professional help accessible for sufferers.
Dr. med Eva Huening
Senior Consultant in Psychiatry