You are more likely to experience mental illness than you are to develop heart disease, diabetes, or any kind of cancer. Alarmingly, only one out of four people might actually seek help.
The universality of mental health conditions make it imperative that society begin to see mental illness in the same light as bone fractures, kidney stones, diabetes, asthma, cancer, or other illnesses.
Due to mental illness stigma, it is common for those trying to help someone suffering from mental illness, to suggest exercise or thinking positively, or other such “passive treatments”. While there is nothing wrong with exercising and thinking positively, it is often that seeking professional help is seen as a last resort, when it should be the first suggestion! You wouldn’t suggest someone with cancer to first consider thinking positively.
“On average, a person with depression is at least 50 percent more disabled than someone with angina, arthritis, asthma, or diabetes”
This statistic, supplied by The Centre for Economic Performance’s Mental Health Policy Group, while surprising emphasizes that mental illness is a serious globalized disease burden.
Untreated mental health disorders can have a domino effect as mental health issues contribute to physical ailments, a decrease in longevity, and even weaken our economy. Stigma has a considerable influence on whether people seek treatment, take prescribed medications and follow through on treatment plans.
Aside from the human cost, there is a general societal devaluing of mental health and mental illness resulting in less funding for research, treatments and services, and a low priority on the political and public policy agenda. For such a universal and globalized disease, this is outrageous!
The dangers of Mental health stigma are far-reaching and costly, in human, social, and economic terms; as it interferes with obtaining support from friends and family, maintaining financial well-being, but most especially, it delays getting help.
Words are powerful- they can both heal and harm. People, who live with mental illnesses, and their families, often state that the stigma associated with their diagnosis was more difficult to bear than the actual illness.
Stigma is all encompassing, however stigma can be defeated by compassionate knowledge, and re-framing of how to help those suffering from mental illness.
Do you know that talking about Cancer used to be a taboo topic? It’s association with death led to fear of seeking treatment, whispered judgments, self-stigma, and dismissal. With education, awareness campaigns, and empathy, Cancer eventually became de-stigmatized by simply talking about it. Starting the conversation is the first step.
80% of people with bipolar disorder will consider suicide, 50% of people with bipolar disorder will attempt suicide, and 15% of people with bipolar disorder will kill themselves.
Circumstances that help reduce suicide risks in those who experience mental illnesses are called “Protectors”. The number one Protector for those with bipolar disorder is the existence of an empathic, high-quality doctor/patient relationship. The second most important Protector is a strong external support system that encourages active mental health care.
Alarmingly, only 1 out 4 people living with a mental illness will actually seek help. The stigma surrounding mental illnesses and treatment breeds reluctance and shame in those who need care the most. This is why those with mental illnesses need Protectors.
You have the power to be a Protector for those experiencing mental illness, and it is easy to start!
Here at Chisovn, we are dedicated to mental health awareness, increasing access to care, cultivating Protectors, and reducing mental health stigma.
Want to join us? Please start by asking, “HAVE YOU TRIED GETTING HELP?”
Starring Actor: Ego Boyo @officialegoboyo
Director: Dochi Nwaigwe @dochi_nogabbana
Screenwriter: Chinero Nnamani @chineronnamani
Editor: AristoKrat TV @aristokrattv
Music: Brian Tyler