Portfolio of Hope

Unfortunately, despite stigma surrounding mental health having reduced in recent years, it has not been completely abolished, and therefore people still hold discriminatory opinions formulated off the back of unrepresentative stereotypes.

The opinions that people have regarding mental illness differ greatly and are often influenced by factors such as one’s family, ethnicity, country of origin, and/or culture. Depending on what someone’s culture is depends on whether they will seek help. As cultural attitudes impact upon a person’s beliefs, norms, and values, if mental illness is seen as ‘shameful’ in their eyes, they will be less likely to talk about their feelings, particularly if their culture emphasises how, for example, ‘mental health challenges are a weakness and something to hide.’

A person’s culture can therefore have a big impact on how they approach mental illness. It can determine not only whether they will seek help at all, but also what type of help they will seek, how they will describe their feelings (as only physical, only emotional, or both), and the support they will be given from their family.

The social stigma that people from certain cultures are subjected to because of being open about their mental health leads to many people feeling as though they have no choice but to find treatment and support alone. If the stigmatisation becomes too much, they might refrain from seeking support at all, which will likely only result in their difficulties worsening, therefore making the road to recovery an even longer one.

When you consider that one in four people struggle with their mental health, it is really shocking to learn how so many people are left to fight their battle alone due to the discriminatory attitudes that their culture may impose on them. Things desperately need to change. It is no good having reduced stigma surrounding mental health, there needs to be no stigma. Everyone must feel able to seek help and recover from their problems, and therefore everyone must educate themselves to learn what mental health really is. It is not a dangerous psychopath, its someone who needs support. It could be your mum, your dad, or even yourself. It effects the lives of so many people, and every single one of those people is deserving of recovery.

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