We Must End The Stigma Surrounding Mental Health

Why is it that whenever someone says they have anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, or another mental health disorder, some people believe they are ‘mentally unstable’ and can’t be trusted? Why aren’t people always taken seriously when they say they can’t hang out because their anxiety is too bad or that their depression is making them want to stay in and watch Netflix?

Many mental health disorders are illnesses, yet some people think victims are just overreacting. I’m very open about the fact that I have a few anxiety disorders. I see a therapist once a month, and I take medication every night so I can go out and do things normally like everyone else without having that crippling fear that something bad is going to happen.  I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve lost friends because they believe I’m being overdramatic or the number of times I’ve stayed home due to my anxiety. I would change if I could, but anxiety is a medical condition.

Scientifically, when someone has anxiety or depression, there isn’t enough serotonin going from neuron to neuron. Therefore, I have a chemical imbalance in my brain that causes my anxiety.  It would be the same thing if I had a thyroid problem or diabetes. I would have to take medication for the rest of my life due to this chemical imbalance. However there’s a difference between having anxiety vs other medical conditions that have to do with chemical imbalances. For example, if I were to tell someone I had diabetes, they would most likely be empathetic and try to help me if they could. On the other hand, if I were to tell people that I suffer from anxiety, there’s a greater chance that people may not believe me, or even tell me that everything’s in my head. Yeah, it’s all in my head because that’s where the chemicals are going wrong.  

Why do people see my mental illness as something that should remain hidden?  Why is it people can share that they have diabetes, or cancer, but there is a stigma surrounding anxiety and other mental health disorders?  The perception of mental illness needs to be changed because people struggle with issues like self harm and suicide that are closely related to mental illness.  If the people who need care can receive the kind of help they need, then there wouldn’t be so many tragedies and problems. We need to change the mental health stigma that the world holds right now.


– Sam Bart

One comment

  1. I hate when people say things like “just breathe” or “you’ll feel better if you just get out of the house”. They don’t seem to recognize the difference between “normal” stress and ANXIETY. Just like they have trouble understanding the difference between being sad and being depressed.

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