As someone who has experienced what mental health services are like, I was first sectioned 34 years ago not long after leaving school. At 16 years old, this was a terrible experience, hopefully never to be repeated. I understand fully the full force of a horrid and backwards way of thinking by many people.
I asked the question: has mental health issues and the stigma changed for the better?
The mental health system has changed in many different ways over the years, from an uncaring old fashioned to a more modern approach. There is now much more awareness and understanding. We still need to learn value and patience when it comes to those who suffer. Awareness now takes forms. We are encouraged to speak up about our problems without fear. Convincing people to openly and freely talk about their struggles. However, this has taken a while.
They are still many stories of sufferers being undermined by the stigma of being mentally ill. You will still see news stories about the shortcomings and failures of mental health services. Often with far reaching consequence, these are overlooked when talking about mental illness.
In today’s world, the preconception of mental illness is probably the most unnoticed part of all. There is still abuse and stigma surrounding mental health.
However a lot has changed in the last decade, most of it for the better thankfully. Famous faces are now joining the fight and speaking about their own experiences. Much of the media are being forced into a corner. Media attention is rightfully taking the side of mental health. Controversial people like Piers Morgan are now being ignored by more and more people.
The real difference?
What is different these days is acceptance along the long road of realization that mental health is no different than your sexuality or race. No person should feel discriminated, no matter what way they are or anything else.
So has mental health changed for the better?
The answer is that people are now embracing mental illness both in the workplace or school. Yes, not everyone gets the message but for those who don’t, I’m afraid may never get the message unless they suffer the same stigma that many people with mental illness face.
What needs to be done?
This is not a difficult question to answer, in my opinion people with schizophrenia or whatever ever illness you have need to be treated equally and not seen as weak or unable to cope with life. Remember this: whatever condition you have, you are no less brave than someone with cancer or any other illness. Which is why mental illness should be on the same playing field as other difficulties you may encounter in life