#1
I was thinking about the way that many people treat mental disorders today.

From my point of view, it seems as though only STDs are considered more "taboo" than mental health problems. Those of us who have them tend to hide them from most other people, or be afraid to ask a doctor for help.

I don't think that it would occur to many diabetics to try to hide their illness, nor would very many people tell someone with coronary disease that their problem simply does not exist.

I'm curious as to how people developed the notion that something that affects someone's life just as much, if not more, than many physical illnesses can be so easily written off, ridiculed, or flat out denied.


(Full disclosure: I'm fairly open about my mental health: I have a diagnosed panic disorder with agoraphobia and social anxiety. I have encountered people who have accused me of faking it, of being an attention seeker, and of lying. I've been told on multiple occasions that my problems are entirely my fault, and that I should just man up.)

TL;DR: Why has such a harsh stigma towards mental health problems developed around the world?

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#2
Quote by Das_Skittles
I was thinking about the way that many people treat mental disorders today.

From my point of view, it seems as though only STDs are considered more "taboo" than mental health problems. Those of us who have them tend to hide them from most other people, or be afraid to ask a doctor for help.

I don't think that it would occur to many diabetics to try to hide their illness, nor would very many people tell someone with coronary disease that their problem simply does not exist.

I'm curious as to how people developed the notion that something that affects someone's life just as much, if not more, than many physical illnesses can be so easily written off, ridiculed, or flat out denied.


(Full disclosure: I'm fairly open about my mental health: I have a diagnosed panic disorder with agoraphobia and social anxiety. I have encountered people who have accused me of faking it, of being an attention seeker, and of lying. I've been told on multiple occasions that my problems are entirely my fault, and that I should just man up.)

TL;DR: Why has such a harsh stigma towards mental health problems developed around the world?


What the hell do you want people to say to you?Do you want a pat on the back for telling people you have problems?
#3
There are probably a couple of reasons for this.

1) Over-diagnosis. There are some mental illnesses that were often over-diagnosed a while back.

2) Religion: For a while, mentally ill people were considered possessed or evil... while this stigma isn't so prevalent today, some of its messages might still come across.

3) Misunderstanding: Mental health is in the mind, so people have a hard time understanding it. We don't quite know what goes on in their heads, and it's not grounded "science" as people like to understand it. Theres no physical problem; it's harder for "normal" people to feel sympathy.
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#4
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What the hell do you want people to say to you?Do you want a pat on the back for telling people you have problems?

That was a stupid response.
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#6
Quote by MightyAri
What the hell do you want people to say to you?Do you want a pat on the back for telling people you have problems?



This thread ---->


Your head ---->

Anyway, I'd say the main reason is misunderstanding. The fact is, people fear what they don't understand; since mental illness is only relatively new compared to other health problems (not mental illness itself, but the proper medical diagnosis of a mental illness), many people just don't understand. However, I've noticed over the last few years people seem to be getting more open and understanding.

EDIT:
Quote by gacharya
We don't quite know what goes on in their heads, and it's not grounded "science" as people like to understand it. Theres no physical problem; it's harder for "normal" people to feel sympathy.

Well put.

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#7
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That was a stupid response.


Why?

I see adds on tv about mental health issues ect,I know schizophrenics who are pumped full of medication..like diabetes,as he mentioned.I don't understand what he means by this stigma.
#8
hm...maybe cuz they know someone with a problem who they don't like, and develope a perspective around that person. Like that girl with adhd is just an annoying ****, who goes about being an attention *****.
I say this cuz it'd be harder to have such stigma towards a disease if it was your friend, kids, parents, etc.

I has A.D.D. and spent a large part of my childhood depressed and i was diagnosed with both by a doctor. I grew out of the perpetual depression though.
#9
Quote by MightyAri
What the hell do you want people to say to you?Do you want a pat on the back for telling people you have problems?


I don't go up to random people and tell them I have problems.

I'll give an example. I had a panic attack triggered by my agoraphobia. One of my best friends told me to stop being a p*ssy and get over myself. If that goes over your head, keep in mind that a panic attack is involuntary.

I'd rather this thread not get locked in the first page, so try not to troll too hard

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Last edited by Das_Skittles at Sep 1, 2010,
#10
Quote by Das_Skittles

I'll give an example. I had a panic attack triggered by my agoraphobia. One of my best friends told me to stop being a p*ssy and get over myself. If that goes over your head, keep in mind that a panic attack is involuntary.

I'd rather this thread not get locked in the first page, so try not to troll too hard


I wasn't trolling dude.I've seen my ex have a couple of panic attacks and didn't really understand why or know how to help.
#11
Lack of understanding and just general fear. People are generally afraid of the unknown and if you know or are around someone with a mental health issue then you usually have no idea how they're going to react/behave and thus a sub conscious survival instinct kicks in and the safest option is to distance yourself from said individual.

That's just a theory though, I'm no psychologist or anything.
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#12
Quote by MightyAri
What the hell do you want people to say to you?Do you want a pat on the back for telling people you have problems?


Uncalled for and just plain rude, buddy.
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#13
People still to this day don't understand the difference in mental illnesses. Schizophrenia still gets mistaken with Dissociative identity disorder. Waking up feeling strangley happy the morning after feeling unhappy is thought of as a hypomanic episode, etc, etc. Compared to physical illnesses, we all act like Dr House, understanding different operations, knowing recovery times and the likes.

The mental health service didn't do themselves any favours either. People of our grandparents generation would think mental illness and quickly associate it with 'the family member we won't mention'. Lobotomies, ECT, woman getting sectioned for not obeying their husbands, human experiments and the list goes on, are all recent things in our history. They're powerful images most people have witnessed in the last 120 years. And with changes within the mental health services, the closure of asylums, a more community based approach more people are coming forward for help. It will take along time before such powerful and frightening images of psychiatry's awful past are forgotten.
#14
People don't know that it's a real, genuine illness. I used to hold the same belief that since it's just in the mentally ill person's head, as long as they sort everything out, they can get better without needing any medication. Then I met my girlfriend, who's been chronically depressed for about 5 years now. I've only known her for 2, but I've only known about the depression for 1 year. She doesn't run around telling people about it because many, MANY people would quickly label her either a faker, emo, attention-seeker, or flat out just a waste of skin.

I've seen what mental illnesses can really do, and it's a damn shame that not many people actually know about them and recognize them as a medical condition. In many ways, I'd even rate mental illness as one of the absolute worst types of illnesses. Yes, even worse than cancer. Why? Well, mental illnesses (especially depression) are literally a living hell. Imagine the absolute shittiest day you've ever had, now think about how you would feel if your closest friend died on that day. Imagine that amount of pain every single day for days, months, hell even years.
#15
We had some presentation at my schools assembly this morning for mental disabilites and it's rather similar but everyone looks down on them because they're different and everyones always scared of what's different, like racism or homophobia. I think it's really immature
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#16
the understanding seems to be getting better in my area (north new jersey), but people still hide what they or their family members have from all but the closest people to them. it's just becoming more and more common for myself to get to know people and then to learn that they have bi-polar, general depression, or a form of anxiety disorder (or very commonly among my one circle, all three). it could be my area, a sign of the times, or just the people i gravitate to these days having been in some unusual places these past few years. there will always be a stigma to those rare homeless you find in some cities but to the actual diagnosed people who are managing their problems, i think it can only get better.
#17
To make a long answer short the average person does not understand mental disorders and views those inflicted with them as crazy, threatening, dangerous, unstable, etc.

People also seem to have an unfounded idea that mental disorders are categorical.
#18
Well, I think a little bit of it is fear. First, is the fear that they may be unstable, and might hurt you. Second, this is a little more personal, that the person is no longer the same. For instance a paranoid schizophrenic lives in their own little world usually. Now I know this doesn't explain all cases, not even close. But that is why there is so much harsh stigma against it.
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#19
Quote by RU Experienced?

People also seem to have an unfounded idea that mental disorders are categorical.


as in how the DSM-IV categorizes them?
#20
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as in how the DSM-IV categorizes them?

No, as in certain behaviors are categorically defined as being indicative of a mental disorder. There are a number of factors that need to be assessed before someone can be diagnosed with a mental disorder, and most people exhibit these behaviors to a certain degree that doesn't satisfy all the necessary criterion of being a disorder.

For example, many people display obsessive compulsive behavior such as washing their hands frequently but that in and of itself does not mean that they have OCD.
#21
Quote by RU Experienced?
No, as in certain behaviors are categorically defined as being indicative of a mental disorder. There are a number of factors that need to be assessed before someone can be diagnosed with a mental disorder, and most people exhibit these behaviors to a certain degree that doesn't satisfy all the necessary criterion of being a disorder.

For example, many people display obsessive compulsive behavior such as washing their hands frequently but that in and of itself does not mean that they have OCD.


I understand what you're getting at, I think. Such as when someone calls another bi-polar when they're moody or when a person is obsessively neat and say they're "like so OCD about everything" ? Even if it's not what you meant, it bothers me regardless because it's so incorrect and misinformed.
#23
There is definitely some kind of idea that mental illness is a scary thing that stops you from functioning in society and makes you think you're a potato, and when people meet someone who seems normal, and has a mental illness that only noticeably influences their behaviour (relatively) subtly, people seem to find it difficult to imagine that the person's thoughts and feelings are actually being influenced massively.

And there's also the big bag of old twats who say "when I was growing up, *disorder* didn't exist", as if ignoring these people, dismissing them as strange or enforcing repression was a better system.
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