Many people still fear and misunderstand people who have been diagnosed with mental illness. People with mental or psychological disorders are often perceived to be potentially dangerous, or, at the very least, capable of causing physical harm to others. Psychiatric conditions take on many forms, just like physical illnesses do. In general, a person with a psychological disorder is confused and does not have a normal process of thinking or reasoning. A person with a psychological disorder does not speak, behave, and relate with orders in a normal fashion. Mental illness often result in lower capacity for coping with the ordinary demands of everyday life. Mental illnesses can affect persons of any age, gender, race, religion, or income. This illness is not a result of personal weakness, lack of character, or poor upbringing. Although symptoms of mental illnesses can sometimes be disturbing, recovery is usually possible in almost all cases.
It is human nature to fear what we do not understand. Aside from the fear that is usually elicited in a person who encounters a person with mental illness brings fear to people, not to mention that it carries a certain stigma that generates negativity when talking about mental illness. Because of this stigma, many people hesitate to get help for a mental health problem for fear of being ostracized or looked down upon. It is unfortunate that this happens because effective treatment exists for most mental illnesses. What is worse is that the stigma experienced by people with mental illness can be more destructive that the illness itself.
Myths are incorporated with such mental health problems. People should know the truth, for they will continue to deny the existence of mental illness or even avoid the topic entirely. They say that people with mental illness are dangerous and violent. While some mentally disturbed individuals have committed crimes or have hurt other people, it is certainly untrue that all persons with psychological problems are capable of harming others around them. In fact, many of persons with psychological problems are themselves victims of violence.
Another myth says that people with mental illness are less intelligent than others. Many studies have shown that most mentally ill people have average or even above average intelligence. Mental illness can affect anyone regardless of their intelligence, income level, or social class. This illness is not a character flaw and has nothing to do with being weak or lacking in will power. Although people with this kind of illness can play a big part in their own recovery, they did not choose to become ill. Psychologically ill individuals are not lazy but only simply cannot “snap out” of their illness. This illness is not a single, rare disorder like other people say. It consists of a broad classification of many disorders including depression, anxiety, personality disorders, schizophrenia, eating disorders, and brain disorders.
Words can hurt people who suffer from mental illness. Words such as crazy, psycho, or wacko can really keep the stigma of the mental illness alive. These words offend people with mental health problems. Even if many people use these words without intending any harm, it is still cruel to make fun of someone and mock him of his mental state.