MENTAL ILLNESS: IT`S TIME WE STARTED TALKING ABOUT IT
It is still a mystery to me, how most people in our society are not affected by the alarming rise of mental illness cases. I don`t know what to believe anymore! I mean is it the lack of knowledge of what mental illness really is? Is it our systems or culture that keeps us from talking about it or is it sheer ignorance of what is really going on in our society!
Mental illness is a disease, just like any other. It can affect anyone irrespective of their age, gender or social status. It`s a disease that results in extreme or mild interruption of someone`s thoughts and behavior. Mental illness affects an individual `s daily routine making it difficult or extremely exhausting to carry on their daily activities with normalcy.
There are more than 200 identified forms of mental illnesses worldwide. According to WHO(World Health Organization), one in four people suffers from one form of mental illness. Now if that`s not alarming, I don`t know what is! All these individuals suffer from a different form of mental disorder. It may be depression, bipolar, PTSD(Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, OCD( Obsessive Compulsive Disorder), Anxiety and Panic attacks, Eating Disorders, just to name a few.
All the above are diseases just like any other. Suffering from mental illness should not subject a person to stigma or isolation by the society. Our role is to familiarize ourselves with these conditions. Instead of judging, we should strive to be knowledgeable about mental illness and all that it entails.
If a majority of the society got to learn about mental illness and mental health in general, so many tragedies could be evaded. We would stop crying and lamenting about the `sharp knife of a short life`.
Taking the initiative to be more caring does not make you less of a person, it only makes you a better and the bigger person. Most of the extreme mental illness cases that we see every day such as suicide as a result of depression, do not occur overnight. Most of these individuals start crying for help early, but most of us are too blind or preoccupied with our own things, that we fail to see people`s suffering or even hear their cry for help.
When that friend withdrew, kept to themselves and stopped answering you texts or picking your calls, did you make an effort to reach out. Did you find out what was happening or did the reality of things hit when they lowered that casket? Mental illness is treatable just like a tooth or a headache. The only difference is that mental illness in most cases takes away the victim`s willpower and that`s where you(the society) comes in.
When that sibling starts canceling plans and keeps to themselves, do not jump into conclusion and decide that they no longer want to be part of the family. Instead, take a step and find out the reasons behind their sudden withdrawal, lack of interest and mood changes. When that person you care about so much becomes overly impulsive, emotional and excessively anxious, there may be more to it, than meets the eye. Find out first the reality of things, do not jump into conclusions of insecurity or insanity.
As a society, it is time we stopped talking about mental illness in low tones.
It is time we stopped stigmatizing mental illness victims and became part of the solution. Mental illness may not have affected you directly but maybe there`s that co-worker, a neighbor, who`s been suffering in silence and you`ve been too blind or preoccupied to notice. You can still reach out and maybe even save a life.
Mental illness is not a battle we`ll win in a day, but one victim at a time we can save a generation.