Despite the increasing prevalence of mental illnesses, stigma and misconceptions are still rampant in society.
Be it through misconceptions that form through personal experiences or negative impressions formed by word of mouth, many expect the behaviour of those with a mental health condition to be disruptive and crazy, even deeming them useless and a burden to society. Hence, society treats them in a negative manner.
Explicit negative attitudes that form negative behaviour directed at those with a mental health condition should not be taken lightly. Those with a mental health condition ought to have a safe environment to heal and be cared for, instead of being misjudged and mocked. Being ridiculed trivialises how they feel, and this does not help them in their journey to recovery.
All individuals have the right to be treated respectfully. Just as how it is natural to not mock someone wearing an arm or leg cast due to injury, the same respect should be shown towards those with a mental health condition, too.
The social media campaign Unboxing, launched by the Singapore Association for Mental Health, as well as the national movement Beyond the Label, are some ways in which society has been attempting to address this stigma. Our Grandfather Story, a YouTube channel, also posted a video to encourage society to care for people with mental health conditions.
Though many initiatives have been rolled out this year, more can be done so that more people can be on board to reduce the stigma associated with those with a mental health condition.
Casilda Tho Yu Ling