Mental Illness Stigma
For my research essay I will be examining America’s stigma on mental illness compared to physical illness. It is counterintuitive that in this country mental illness is treated as if it isn’t as serious, in some cases more serious, than a physical injury or illness. The first thought that comes to most people’s mind about mental illness is that it’s “all in your head, you’re fine,” but in reality the chemical balance in the brain isn’t what it should be, causing mental illness. In schools, kids with a broken leg are exempt from gym class, but kids with anxiety are not exempt from public speaking. Dealing depression is like walking with a broken leg, it’s hard and it’s painful. Each year, about 42.5 million adults in America suffer from some form of mental illness, and it is usually swept under the rug. Psych wards are being defunded, people aren’t being taken seriously, and without the proper help they need, many end up homeless, or worse, dead.
The percentage of Americans with mental illness continues to grow yet the care and attention to it is stagnant or even shrinking. Even by health professionals, a person with mental illness can be shut down because their symptoms are not “extreme” enough for them to be considered mentally ill. Mental illness comes in all shapes and sizes and needs to be recognized for what it is. An illness. People often say to people with depression, “Get over it. Stop thinking so much.” If someone with chronic seizures was having an episode, no one would tell them that. They would get the help they need. Things need to change in this country about mental illness and they need to be taken seriously, or they cannot be treated.