Mental health stigma remains despite statistics

Photo: Selene Basile

Juliane Sunshine/Contributing Writer

One in five adults in a given year experience some sort of mental illness, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.  Although the rates of mental illness are high, there remains a stigma of mental health in the US.

“The problem with people having such a negative stigma with mental health is that how they kind of relate it to the gun violence,” Alexandra Garrido, an elementary education major said. “People who have mental health issues are usually not that violent and the majority of them are passive.”

Some refuse to see mental and physical health in the same category, when mental health is a vital role in living a healthy lifestyle.  Any form of mental illness is a true sickness; it affects more than the brain. Most insurances don’t cover the majority of mental health issues which can contribute to the stigmas that people face.  

“Politicians often [talk about] mental health and then they don’t give them the resources to help people who have mental health problems if that’s the case,” said Garrido.

Associate Director of counseling and psychological services Kathryn Kominars  explained that the stigma has long-standing history.

“A hundred years ago people put those suffering from mental health problems in a government of prison and shackled and locked them away,” Kominars said. “When people don’t understand what the source of difference is, they dehumanize or demonize people.”

“Nobody thinks they should look down on someone if they got to an accountant to get help with their taxes, nobody looks down on someone if they go for legal advice before they sign a contract. Someone who is having a problem, why is some problems okay to get help for and others are not,” Kominars said.

If what Kominars said is true, that we seek help for just about everything, we should be doing the same for our mental health. Proper education and knowledge on this matter has revolutionized, we know those who have a mental illness do not deserve to be behind bars.

“I remember hearing from my father, that his older brother had cancer in the late 50s and early 60s, it was one of those hush, hush things that somehow people thought if you got cancer you had done something to bring that upon yourself,” Kominars said.

Cancer is a mutation of the cells, not something that happens because you deserve it or have done something wrong in your life. Through proper education, the stigma behind cancer left. Perhaps years from now the stigma for mental health can fade away; getting the truth out there and educating people on this matter can help put an end to stigmas in general for any matter.

FIU however has a wonderful student health center located on both campuses, the visits are discrete and the psychologists make you feel comfortable and welcomed. Please do not feel shame for seeking help and take advantage of the tools FIU has placed at the school. The truth is stigmas are often caused because of lack education and old wives tales, not true facts.


2 Comments on "Mental health stigma remains despite statistics"

  1. —stigma remains?

    I am sure there are people who say that, as I am sure there are people who do not. Who outnumbers whom is up to who is talking.
    Those who hold that prejudice do harm. and have dominated the conversation for too long.
    Which side you choose to be on remains that, a choice. Personally, I find it impossible to be on the side voicing it. I choose not to do that harm.

    Which is you choice?

  2. Associate Director of counseling and psychological services Kathryn Combiners explained that the stigma has long-standing history.
    Stigmatizers have a long history.

    Once one has achieved personal awareness, it becomes a personal choice whether to be them or not.
    we know those who have a mental illness do not deserve to be behind bars.
    “Those who have a mental illness” are a broad and diverse demographic, earning to the millions, holding every university degree, and every professional, white and blue collar job.

    Harold A. Maio, retired mental health editor

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