Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Mental Illness: Still a Dirty Secret

As someone who suffers from depression & bipolar disorder, it's hard at times to deal with the stigma many people still associate with the diagnosis. Sufferers will not admit to having a mental illness for fear of being labelled as crazy, be accused of faking it or being shunned & ridiculed in other ways. Even worse is when they won't admit it to themselves, these people can become a danger to themselves & those around them.

On the other side is people who don't recognise the signs and blame it on other things. This is the group I fell into, not knowing what severe depression or bipolar was. Many uninformed people think it's just a case of being sad most of the time & totally crazy at others. Those that suffer from these illnesses know it is much, much more than that.

It is vital that information about mental illness be made as widely available as possible & an attempt be made to get people discussing the issue openly. Being able to recognise signs of possible mental health issues in yourself or those around you AND to be able to get the required help without fear of ridicule or scorn could save a life, maybe yours!

Thankfully today many people, including celebrities, realise what an important issue Mental Health is and the effects it has on society. A number of celebrities have put there names behind campaigns to raise public awareness of the issues and others have come out and spoken openly of their personal experience with depression, bipolar & other mental illnesses.

Mental illness isn't the domain of the weak, the unknowns, it is also part of daily life for many of the rich and famous. And at all levels of society, every day, mental illness costs lives, a lot of the time because the sufferer or those around them fear discussing it, or fail to recognise it for what it is. Times are changing, but how many more lives, great & small, will be wasted before the stigma of having a mental illness is lifted, allowing people to feel comfortable discussing their problems & openly seeking help.

Most major Mental Health websites have celebrities involved in raising awareness of mental health issues. Add your voice so that in the future sufferers, their family & friends can openly find the support & information they need to perhaps save a life.

Mark K.

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