The month of May is considered the Mental Awareness Month and therefore I am writing this article to encourage us to become more aware of mental disorders and not to label or judge individuals because of their mental state.
I am not an expert in mental health but I used to suffer from depression for a very long time. Depression is a form of mental disorder. In a conversation on mental health on my YouTube channel with Dr. Alicia Missick – she indicated that there are at least 300 mental disorders.
There are many factors that contribute to mental disorders but one thing I can say is that any of us can encounter mental disorders. There are so many people with a lot of smiles on their faces but they are suffering inside because of a mental disorder.
I don’t know how many people in the Turks and Caicos Islands are plagued with mental illness but according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, one out of 5 adults in the United States face mental illness.
Medlineplus.gov defines mental disorders as “conditions that affect your thinking, feeling, mood, and behaviours. They may be occasional or long lasting (chronic). They can affect your ability to relate to others and function each day.”
Common mental disorders
While there are least 300 mental orders, Medlineplus. Gov indicates the common ones are as follows
- “Anxiety disorders, including panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and phobias.”
- “Depression, bipolar disorder, and other mood disorders.”
- “Eating disorders.”
- “Personality disorders.”
- “Post-traumatic stress disorder.”
- “Psychotic disorders, including schizophrenia.”
Once an individual has been diagnosed with a mental disorder, other people tend to label these individuals for the rest of their lives. We call them all sorts of names such as crazy, stupid, nuts, dumb, retarded and “head is not good.” This is very unfortunate as the mental state that an individual is in does not have to be permanent. Even if their mental state is permanent, individuals can still live a good life with counselling and treatment.
The negative names that we call these individuals can have an everlasting impact on these individuals. Sometimes people respond and act to what they are called. In this case, let us do our best in being positive in how we treat others whether they have mental disorders or not. After all, the power of life and death is in the tongue.
It can happen to any of us
Mental disorders do not discriminate. It can happen to any of us, the rich, the poor, the Christian the non-Christian, whites, blacks, the educated and non-educated. I know the word of God says that God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love and sound mind. However, we are not perfect individuals and so we have weaknesses. Those weaknesses may give room for mental disorders to take place in our lives. For instance, you may not like your physical features and wish you had look different and so you may become so depressed wondering why you were born the way you were born. If you are a very dark person like me, you may be treated differently and you will suffer from depression. You may be rich but very lonely and this can lead to mental disorders. You may be a Christian and face with all sorts of battles and trying to fight these battles by yourself and when you see little progress has been made, it can drive you to mental disorders as we forget that these battles are the Lord’s. The loss of job or a loved one can impact you mentally. You may discover that you partner is cheating on you and this create a mental disorder in your life. Someone may rape you (God forbid) which can have major mental impact on you.
There some disorders are inherited from our ancestors and so some people cannot help the way they behave and that is one of the reasons why mental disorders do not discriminate.
Let us do our best to become more aware about mental disorders and as part of our awareness, do not stigmatize anyone. Too many times when we hear about someone with mental disorders, rather than encouraging them to seek help, we spend our energy calling our friends to spread the news about that individual’s mental condition. Remember it can happen to you and if it does not happen to you, it can happen to one of your family members or friends. You see when you stigmatize individuals, it discourages people from getting help because they afraid to let people know of their condition.