Stigmas related to mental health is not new in our society It has negative beliefs and attitudes attached towards people suffering from emotionally and mentally challenging situations. It is an additional stress for the person who is already going though a difficult time in their life.
The Indian culture has its own diverse history of practices relating to treatment of mental disorders. The stigma attached to mental disorders in India is more extensive as compared to other western countries because there is less acceptance related to mental health .We as a society need to talk about it more openly without having judgments.
Some of the ways which can be followed by people to reduce stigmatization against people suffering from mental health issues:
1.Awareness of mental illnesses :Among general population and more specifically among the family members of the patient should be the priority. Being aware is the first step in reducing these stigmas .
2.Support groups: online and offline support groups for mental health patients is a growing trend in the western countries. It provides them opportunities to share and create a non-judgmental attitude. People should feel that they are not alone and shouldn’t feel discouraged to speak about it .
3.Breaking of myths : Knowledge of actual facts is also very necessary. There are numerous myths surrounding mental illness, which prevent patients in many cases to go for treatment and therapies. Educating people on the basis of real facts about such issues helps in reducing stigma.
4.Labeling:We should try and be more empathetic towards people suffering a mental health disorder. Labeling people or giving them titles of “schizophrenic”, “depressed” without adequate knowledge and diagnosis does more harm than help. It decreases people’s self-esteem and self- confidence and they become more helpless.
5.Equality:People suffering from mental illnesses should be treated as equal members of the society. Just as the needs of physical patients ,appropriate services should available for such people as well.