Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The shame surrounding mental health

There is a notice on the board in the corridor at work which states that one in six people in the workplace are likely to be suffering from depression, anxiety or stress.  Now considering the problem we have been dealing with over the past few weeks then the jokes were obvious.

However, it is no laughing matter.  Mental health problems are still a taboo subject for far too many people – far easier to admit to having a physical problem than to admit that the mental stresses and strains of life are sometimes just a little bit too much. What will people think?  Will they start hiding sharp objects and double locking third floor windows just in case?

We all get a bit uptight now and again, we all get down in the dumps, and we all get a little bit tense.  For some people the reactions to situations and events are far more extreme.  They need help just the same as someone suffering with diabetes or any other health problem.We shouldn’t be afraid to talk about these problems – they affect far more people than you may expect, and once a sufferer is brave enough to admit it then they will probably find a lot more people around them willing to stand up and admit similar problems.

There is no shame in being a sufferer from depression or anxiety or any such illness. The shame is that society is still not ready to accept mental illness on the same level as any other.  It is also a great pity that far too many doctors still use the term ‘stress’ to cover  a wide range of non-specific issues and fob patents off with a handful of valium!  The shame is that people are made to feel so embarrassed that they avoid seeking help. The shame is with those people who just don't want to understand.

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