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Mental Health: From Stigmatised to Glamorised

CW: This article discusses topics of mental illness and suicide which could be distressing to some readers.

With all the stigma surrounding the topic of mental health disorders, would you seek help? Would you feel safe confiding in a friend?

It is very difficult for people to admit to having a mental illness. Why? Because of the stigma surrounding the topic. Try putting yourself in someone’s shoes, someone who fears being treated differently because of their mental illness. It isn’t easy. Even if in the last decade there has been a general effort in spreading awareness about mental health, the role of the media has somehow misled and manipulated information regarding the topic. And somewhere along the way, instead of comprehending mental health, we have started to glamorise it.

This has only emphasised and supported the misconception that mental health is used purely to get attention, which is not true.

From stigmatised to glamorised

The stigma associated with mental health issues derives from a misguided view that sees these individuals as different due to societal stereotypes.

People struggling with mental illness are made to feel hopeless and ashamed due to this prejudice and discrimination, which poses a serious barrier to treatment and diagnosis. They are made to feel embarrassed and withdrawn from society. How could that help them in any way? Many often say that facing these treatments is sometimes worse than the illness itself.

This stigma causes people harm, and it must stop.

There is no denying that the media has helped spread awareness of mental health. However, with the awareness rising, it has led to a trend of sorts. It is becoming a "personality trait" to post, and flaunt mental illnesses, all the while being misinformed. In fact, due to misinformation surrounding certain mental illnesses, some do not take them seriously. For this reason, young individuals do not see mental illness as an illness but more like a phase that comes and goes.

This only reveals how deeply we have connected our perception of self to social media.

This trend glamorises mental disorders and normalises real issues that people struggle with. It emphasises how people are willing to deceive in order to feel recognition, fame and attention. When the internet normalises disorders to the point where they become common jokes and sayings, it makes the word lose its value and seriousness. This makes it difficult to distinguish between those who actually struggle and those who deceptively act distressed.

It is an unhealthy behaviour among young adults that must be talked about. Because depression is no tragic sadness, anorexia is not to be proud of, and OCD is not about being clean or very organised. These misconceptions must stop because they are not helping those suffering from the illness.

Oftentimes, mental illnesses are misinterpreted and glamorised, which adds to the stigma attached to them. It's important to keep this in mind when choosing your words, you never know what the person next to you is dealing with.

People with access to the internet need to be aware that mental illnesses are more than pictures and likes. It is okay to discuss your experience on social media but when it promotes and falsely portrays mental illnesses, that’s where you have to stop.


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