Effective Treatments Won’t Matter If This One Huge Barrier Still Exists
According to healthhub Singapore and IMH, about one in 6 people in Singapore suffer from mental illness.
You know what that means?
That actually means that someone you know, probably someone close, may be suffering from a mental illness.
For those suffering from mental illness, it takes a lot of courage to acknowledge that they are struggling.
It takes even much greater strength to be willing to seek help.
With advancement in technology, we are actually able to be connected with one another easily. But people with mental illness live in isolation. Feeling alone in a seemingly well connected world. You know what the problem is? The problem isn’t about not wanting to be connected.
The major problem is stigma.
Ok, maybe some people will think that the term stigma is so overused. But that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist.
The truth is that stigma of mental illness still exists and people like me are battling with it every day. Not only do we have to battle with our illnesses, we actually live in an environment of shame and fear that arises because of stigma.
That’s why people with mental illnesses are seen as violent, dangerous, and even hopeless or a liability.
Mental illness is an illness. It’s a real illness.
The thing is, many people don’t understand that it is in fact a real illness. It’s an illness that affects the brain, just like asthma is an illness that affects the lung. Just like asthma is a real illness, so is a mental illness.
And just like any real illnesses, there is hope of recovery, Insha Allah.
There are lots of effective treatments out there. I know. I’ve gone through them. From medications, to therapy, to natural healing methods, these are effective in helping people with mental illness to live their best lives.
However, no matter how effective they are, it won’t matter if stigma continues to be quite a huge barrier.
It prevents people from expressing their feelings or reaching out for help.
Most of the time, such stigma comes from people they know around them. The stigma shown by these group of people is usually in the form of flawed assumptions, avoidance, and gossip.
Of course this would make people with mental illness not willing to seek support from those people around them.
Reducing stigma can be a huge difference between living a life, and ending a life.
I invite everyone to take some time to educate yourself about mental illness. Be aware and honest about how you feel about people with mental illness and do your best to find out the truth about this invisible illness. Only then will you be able to reach out to offer acceptance and reassurance to the people close to you who are suffering in silence.