Accepting the fact that you or a loved one is suffering from a mental health disorder isn’t always easy, and seeking treatment in the face of shame and stigma requires immeasurable strength. Suicide rates are at their highest levels ever. Drug addiction is wreaking havoc across the nation. Mental health disorders affect one in four people, and yet, discrimination is still alive, well, and preventing those suffering from seeking help, finding hope, and recovering.
90% of people with a diagnosed mental health illness admit that stigma and discrimination have a negative impact on their lives. These individuals suffer from a real medical condition – their symptoms exist and infiltrate every aspect of their lives. Yet these individuals are often told that “it’s all in their heads” and to “get over it.” When have we ever said that to someone suffering from cancer?
People who suffer from a mental health disorder are more likely to be dealt with by police than by a doctor during a psychological crisis; jails house significantly more mentally ill individuals than hospitals do. They take the blame for many violent acts when, in reality, they are the victims. The scarlet ‘A’ of a mental health condition indicates that an individual is a danger to society, other people and themselves. However, with compassion, empathy and proper treatment, most of them have the capacity to recover.
There are too many people suffering in this world for us to perpetuate this discrimination. 300 million individuals – six in ten of them adolescents – have major depression, and yet 56% of these people will not seek treatment because of the negative stigma associated with mental illness. The statistics are startling, as can be seen in this Huffington Post article, ’10 Stats That Prove Mental Health Treatment Needs More Attention.’
Reducing mental health stigma and discrimination starts on an individual level:
1. Educate yourself. Learn the facts and forget the myths.
2. Change your attitudes & behavior. See each person as a unique individual, not as a label or stereotype.
3. Choose your words. Avoid hurtful and derogatory language.
4. Educate others. Teach others the facts about mental illness and stop the spread of negative stereotypes.
5. Look on the bright side. Focus on the positive contributions that people with mental health disorders make to society, rather than on the negatives.
6. Support those suffering. Treat all people the way you would like to be treated in the same situation.
Discrimination doesn’t go away overnight, but it has to start somewhere. Gandhi famously said, ‘You must be the change you wish to see in the world,’ and those words ring true today more so than ever before.
If you or a loved one is one of the millions of individuals suffering from untreated depression, ketamine infusions could help. Contact us via the brief form below and we can answer any questions you have, help you decide if ketamine could treat your depression, and get you started on the road towards your first infusion.