The Source of the Stigma Surrounding Mental Illness

Even in this modern age, people often attach a negative stigma to mental health issues. Mental health  is sometimes viewed as a taboo topic, or at least an uncomfortable one. What is the underlying obstacle to overcoming the stigma of mental illness? Discover one theory about the source of the negative perception, and find out how to improve awareness and acceptance of poor mental health in Singapore.

Troubling Labels for Mentally Ill People

Crazy, dangerous, stupid, scary, weird— these are just a few of the labels that Singapore’s youth associate with the idea of mental illness, according to an article via Today Online. A study was conducted by Institute of Mental Health (IMH) and Nanyang Technological University’s Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine on Tuesday that uncovered these harmful labels surveyed respondents between ages 14-18, addressing the concept of mental health in Singapore.

Disturbing Results of the Study

In addition to the expression of stigmatising words and phrases, the study revealed negative emotions associated with mental illness. Of those included in the study, 46.2 per cent claimed that they would be “‘very embarrassed’ if they were diagnosed with a mental illness.” Over 20 per cent wouldn’t want anyone else to know if a relative were diagnosed with a mentally illness; and about 35 per cent claimed that “friends would perceive them as ‘weak’ if they had a mental illness.”

Around 30 per cent of the youths surveyed said that mentally ill individuals ” could be well if they tried hard enough”— a painful and untrue statement that reveals a severe lack of education and understanding about mental health issues.

The study showcases an issue that remains widespread throughout Singapore, in spite of significant efforts to educate the population. Disorders and depression in Singapore remain a subject of uncertainty and unpleasantness among many people; and though progress is being made, it needs to happen faster.

The Root of the Stigma

In another post from Today Online, author Raymond Anthony Fernando suggests an underlying cause for the stigma surrounding mental illness in Singapore. The people without mental illness are afraid of what they don’t understand. The individuals suffering with mental illness are afraid of the reactions of others, so they stay in the shadows. According to Fernando, “For those who suffer in silence, fear is the main stumbling block to recovery.”

More Progress in the Future

Thanks to the Institute of Mental Health, the scene is changing. Books, blogs, public education, and various campaigns are helping people understand mental illness— and as they know more about it, they fear it less. Psychiatrists and psychologists in Singapore are becoming part of the effort, along with caregivers and patients. But the effort has to reach further.

“I encourage one and all to be involved in efforts to dispel the notions that mental health sufferers are ‘weak or ‘not trying hard enough to get better,'” says Fernando. “Be more supportive, because we never know when we may become mentally ill or have someone we love become a sufferer at some point in our lives.”

Do you know someone who you think might be s? Instead of distancing yourself, treat that person as a valued equal and show him or her respect and consideration. With the help of experts at clinics like Adelphi Psych Medicine Clinic – Psychiatrists and Psychologists for Mental Health in Singapore, mentally ill people can improve significantly, and in some cases make a full recovery. Contact our clinic today for information about mental health awareness, treatment, and recovery.

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Source: Today Online