Written by: Lauren Wilson Medical Psychology Center Intern, Endicott College.
We tend to overlook mental illness and associate people that suffer from it as the bad guy. Is this because we hear the word mental illness and think about people sleeping on the streets or people who are in jail? Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t.
Millions of people are affected by mental illness every day. As a nation, we have paired it with a negative association. Having a mental illness can be frustrating in and of itself, but seeking help can also be embarrassing, because of how our society stigmatizes. Statistically, 1-5 (18.5%) of adults are affected by mental illness, as well as 1 in 5 (21.4%) of children ages 13-18, and 13% of children who are 8-15 are also affected. In the United States, a little more than 50% of the population has a mental illness from severe to mild.
So why are we so hush hush about mental illness? We have this stigma that has been latched on for many centuries now and "People with mental illnesses are crazy" is the new phrase people have been using and can be hurtful. People don’t want to seek treatment because they do not want to be labeled as "crazy" or they don’t want others to know they may have something going on in their lives that is making their daily lives tougher.
It’s time to change that stigma. It’s okay to reach out for help when you need it, everyone does. So many people are just like you. Seeking help is for your benefit and that is important to be a better you.
This movement is called “Time to Change”, a social movement that has been working on ways to help change the way people think and act about mental health. Time to change is website the covers personal stories, topics about mental health, and is a safe place about mental illness. This website prompts the well-being of others and is trying to spread the word to get rid of this stigma.
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