Mental illness stigma is harmful to students

Jasper Ramirez, Art Editor

According to the Kim Foundation, an estimated 57.7 million people, or one in four adults, suffer from a diagnosable mental illness in a given year. Mental illness causes mild and severe impairments in the way a person thinks, their mood, and behavior. People who suffer from mental illness have to carry the burden of stigmas and misconceptions with them. From anorexia nervosa to trichotillomania, 75% of those affected see stigma as a barrier to seeking treatment and do not seek help. If left untreated many mental disorders such as bipolar disorder, anxiety disorders, and psychosis can get worse.

Stigma is the fear or rejection that people perceive toward those who are “different.” Some stigmas mentally ill people face is that they’re all “crazy”, that mental illness is a result of bad parenting, and that people with severe mental illnesses are “psycho killers,” when in fact, many people with mental illnesses such as schizophrenia are often the victims of violence. Mental illness is just as serious as physical illness and should be taken seriously as such.

People with depression can’t just “snap out of it,” but they can bury their emotions so deep within themselves that they seem happy. Depression has nothing to do with being too weak or lazy, but rather has to do with an imbalance of chemicals in the brain. Telling a person who is depressed that they just need to “get over it,” will often do more harm than good. When helping a loved one recover from depression, remember to be there for them, realize treatment is key, and and remind them they’re not alone.

Mental illness usually does not just go away, and cannot be ignored. a person is not weak for seeking help, in fact it takes courage to reach out. Mental illness affects anyone no matter age, gender, income, or ethnicity.