The Stigma, Mental Health and Society

by Chantal Kapani

Mental health is a subject that we all carefully tiptoe around and regardless of how much we notice the elephant in the room, we turn a blind eye to it. It makes me wonder why; we are a society in the 21st century that becomes more open-minded with every day passing. So, I find it astonishing that there is still a stigma attached to the ‘taboo’ subject of mental health. We are not afraid to use our voices through social media when we see something wrong in our society, it warms my heart that mental health has started to be acknowledged and talk about but, there needs to be more talk and action.

I want to make this very clear, mental health diagnoses are common, and they are normal. Being diagnosed with a mental health condition does not make you weak or less.

When encountering all walks of life with a mental health condition, they would all admitted that they were guilty of not getting help sooner. It baffled me at first of why, but I came to realise, it is not a black and white matter.

As one opened to my eyes to ignoring their struggles, “because of the stigma surrounding mental health issues’. This stigma has put pressure on teenagers and adults of wanting to reach out for their parent’s hand, to look them in the eyes and say, “I am not okay”, but due to stigma most believe their parents, “feel that mental health does not exist”. This is where the generations come into the clash but when push comes to shove parents always want the best for their children. It is scary but, mental health needs and should be spoken about in a household, for support and encouragement to move forward and seek the right help.

Overcoming the stigma and facing it allows us to talk more openly about the subject matter at hand. As some have expressed that by coming into friendship groups and contact with people who were willing and already talking about it made them feel more, “comfortable and confident”, to talk about theirs. It has also made people feel less alienated and come to the realisation that “it was okay to talk about, it was helpful”. The secrets of mental health can cause a strain on friendships, relationships romantically, and family-based because both sides have lost the connection. As some say, “ It is not the mental illness itself that causes the struggle on the relationship but the way that having or hiding it makes the person feel”, why are we having these types of conversation years later? It is not a subject that people should be ashamed of or afraid to talk about because “not only does talking about it strengthen relationships but it can save lives.”

Whether it is simply listening over a cup of tea or giving advice. As hard as it is, the first step is to talk about it.

Let’s talk about mental health more openly.

You can find more of Chantal's work through Instagram, @smallbutmightywriter

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