Mental health is perhaps one of the most unfortunate terms to still exist in health and healthcare-related professions today. It still carries a massive and completely unwarranted stigma from days past, when any type of mental illness was associated with what is known as asylums or loony bins.
Many people still have an association of mental health as being related to individuals who are, in some sense, extremely dangerous or out of control, or who have illnesses or conditions that need to be heavily regulated by medications that effectively deaden them as people and turn them into zombies. It is still a widely held belief that these patients, without this type of medication, whether they are inpatients or outpatients, would be extremely dangerous and liable to attack people either in their own home or on the streets, without cause.
The stereotypical view of patients with mental illness has developed over many decades, and to simply say that it is untrue does not change the deep, underlying suspicion that many people have of what mental health means. Even putting mental health in the context of how and why people were locked up in asylums over the decades seems to make little difference in the perception of mental health in today's world.
If people explain what mental health means by referencing specific types of illnesses such as depression, bipolar disorder, and alcoholism, then there is a much greater chance that the stigma and stereotype associated with mental health will actually get broken down. The other unfortunate thing about mental health is that it separates the mind from the greater notion of health, as opposed to seeing health as a holistic process that involves body, mind, and soul.
©2017 Patricia A. Carlisle (P)2017 Patricia A. Carlisle