The attitude towards mental illness is changing in the world. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates there are 450 million people living with mental illness throughout the world. With the stigma still attached to the illness, many people have a hard time opening up and finding the help they need. Many people with such illness’ claim the negative reactions from the general public are as worse as having the illness itself. World Mental Health Day is a day designed to bring about awareness and create a better understanding of what mental health is.
A recent study in England show that the public’s attitude toward mental health illness has improved , citing more people are willing to accept someone with such illness. Programs like Like Minds, Like Mine, and Time to Change have been working for years to bring a better understanding of mental illness through public forums an community outreach programs.
In Missouri, a women killed her father after listening to the voices in her head. 40 year old Colby Sue Weathers is a paranoid schizophrenic. Her mother, Delena Weathers, said, “She has been having problems the past seven years.” Before shooting her father in the head, Weathers said her daughter, “Was a generous and honorable person. If she had received the support she needed this may have been avoided. It is difficult for mental health professions to label someone with a mental illness as a violent person due to the liabilities attached to the word.
In a study performed at Dartmouth College, researchers found people with severe mental health illness were more open on social media sites. John Nashund, lead author of the study, said, “People with mental illness were more open on sites like Youtube discussing their background and connecting with other people with similar illness.
Dr. Keith Albow, a psychiatrist and a member of the Fox News Medical A-Team, disagrees. He claims social media sites like Facebook and Twitter encourage people with mental disorders like schizoaffective disorder and bipolar disorder who are prone to paranoia, have trouble keeping their episodes off sites that could encourage negative feedback. People who suffer from paranoia end up in a loop. To change our attitude toward mental illness and the effects of social media more research would have to be done linking illness and social media effects.
It is estimated that one in 10 people will face some type of mental illness. Most commonly seen mental health problems are depression and anxiety. These range from mild to severe an can last for an unforeseen amount of time. Depression and anxiety can cripple the quality of life and hinder moving forward in life.
The attitude towards mental illness may be changing throughout the world but the stigma still keeps many people from seeking out the help they need. In the U.S. much effort has been fought to bring more light on mental health. Though more education is needed, there is a shift in peoples’ attitude towards mental illness. Today over 150 different countries throughout the world celebrate World Mental Health day.
By Paul Sears
Photo Provided by kata N.L.M. – Flickr License