One of the greatest challenges we face in diagnosing and treating mental illness is the stigma that still surrounds it. Too many people think mental illness is a sign of weakness. In too many families, mental illness is the dark secret that no one wants to talk about. We aren’t ashamed to discuss other illnesses: cancer, heart disease, diabetes. But mental health still seems like a taboo topic. We need to change that. This piece by Thu-Huong Ha is a great discussion of this issue.
Says journalist Andrew Solomon: “People still think that it’s shameful if they have a mental illness. They think it shows personal weakness. They think it shows a failing. If it’s their children who have mental illness, they think it reflects their failure as parents.” This self-inflicted stigma can make it difficult for people to speak about even their own mental health problems.