Mental health stigma is still very much alive many people would say. Personally, I do not believe the situation as bad as it used to be. I do accept that mental health stigma does exist. However, my belief is that it is not nearly as strong as it was when I was diagnosed with bipolar type 1in 1982. Today I see my friends experiencing major depressive episodes and manic episodes without being stigmatized.
I accept that some stigma is still attached to mental disorders. I believe that much of this is brought about by the media. Often when a person with mental health issues commits a crime this is often hyped up by the media. This is especially so in respect of serious criminal acts. Sometimes the media places strong emphasis on it. On other occasions the hype is of a more subtle nature. To me the media’s actions tends to suggest that people with mental disorders should be feared by the general public.
I believe that there are two major reasons why people with mental disorders do not face as much mental health stigma as was the case say forty years ago. Today many celebrities are speaking up about their mental disorders. They come from many different walks of life. They are describing how their manic episodes or major depressive episodes affect them. As celebrities comment people take notice of their revelations. This gives the general public a far better idea of the suffering a person with an episode of their particular mental disorder is going through.
The second reason is that otherwise ordinary people with mental disorders are also speaking out. Many so afflicted people are now being open about their disorder. Now, when a manic episode or a major depressive episode is being experienced friends and loved ones are aware of what the afflicted person is going through. They become much more understanding.
On many occasions special efforts are put into educating friends and relatives of an afflicted person about their disorder. This understanding by friends and loved ones can, and does, leads to them being much more understanding about what the afflicted person is going through. Sometimes they even recognize oncoming problems before the afflicted person does.
The internet holds many examples of celebrities and ordinary people sharing their experience of mental disorder. Recent celebrities who have explained their problems with manic episodes and depressive episodes include Catherine Zeta-Jones, Demi Lovato and Sinead O’Conner. A search of the internet will reveal any number of “ordinary people” who have learned to manage their manic episodes or their depressive episodes. This publicity has combined to educate the general public as to what a mental disorder is all about. This better understanding has served to greatly reduce mental health stigma attached to mental health disorders.