The "hidden burden" of negative stigma

by S.Abate on February 8, 2014 - 12:20pm

Original article: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-debate/overcoming-mental-illness-means-overcoming-stigma/article12480148/

The World Health Organization described stigma as a “hidden burden” in mental illness and conventions like The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities have taken action to eliminate discrimination on people with a disability. This includes raising awareness and terminating stereotypes and prejudice. There are presently 150 signatories to this convention, including Canada. The Globe and The Mail also mentions a story regarding mental health stigma, where a woman who had undergone surgery for cancer. She received flowers, “get well soon” cards, and gifts and had plenty of visitors. In the aftermath, she began seeking help for her depression where everyone suddenly disappeared. No flowers, no cards, no gifts and not even one visitor. When she finally returned to work, her colleagues gave her a hard time and even suggest that she quit. This negative stigma is happening all over the world, and this story is just another reason why it needs to be stopped. People need to open their minds and see the world for what it really is. People who suffer from mental illness suffer silently because people who don’t suffer from it, choose to ignore and condescend those who do, when really it should be the opposite. People who suffer should always have the option to open up to someone and share their stories, and not only be heard, but be listened to. 

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