Hope that society will be more compassionate toward mental illness

The term “mental illness” has been given such a negative connotation in our society that is has rendered those suffering to be labeled shameful and disgraceful. How is it that we can justify the strong desire to help those with physical injuries while ignoring and demeaning those suffering mentally? It is a strong belief of mine that there should never be an act of concealment or secrecy when dealing with the troublesome nature of mental illness. This lack of understanding and desire to uplift those in their darkest hours has led those suffering to participate in acts of violence against themselves and others.

But how can we alter our current attitudes and beliefs that have been built upon such a negative base? Compassion. This simple act of feeling empathy toward another person can be the difference that saves an individual’s life. Too often in our society people feel unloved and unworthy because of a lack of compassion shown to them. So why, in a time of trouble, should we cast aside those suffering because we do not understand their internal pain? It is unwise to label those committing acts of extreme violence within society as mentally unstable. This further stigmatizes those under the spectrum of mental illness and ignores the fundamental issue.

If those suffering could admit their pain without fear of judgment or pity, it is possible that more would seek treatment and be open about their experiences. The secrecy that has ensued leads to negative consequences that can be harmful to both the individual and those around him. Internalizing mental illness is often a consequence because one is ashamed or embarrassed of their condition. If the nature of this illness is severe, how can one expect another to successfully combat the battle himself?

It is my goal that one day society will become more open and compassionate toward those suffering from mental illness. If this happens, the number of people seeking treatment to better themselves will increase dramatically as they no longer view themselves as the problem. This topic is important to me as I suffer from anxiety and depression. In order to brave the waves of societal condemnation, one must accept the nature of their life with open arms and be willing to inspire others in similar conditions to rise above.

Scott Stevens