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Psychiatric Rehabilitation Specialists
Established in 1977

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The Social Impact of Mental Health Stigma

Mental illness is often seen as a dirty secret. Many people are afraid to talk about it, afraid to seek help, and afraid to admit that they have a problem. In fact, the stigma that surrounds mental illness is one of the biggest obstacles to people seeking treatment and getting the assistance they need when they need it most.

Having a mental illness is no different from having any other kind of illness. It is not a sign of weakness or a personal flaw. It is a real, serious, and treatable condition that can have a profound impact on a person’s life. It is incredibly unfortunate that the social stigmas that surround mental illness often prevent people from seeking treatment. Far too often, people are afraid of being labeled as “crazy” or “damaged,” and so they suffer in silence. This is a tragedy because most mental illnesses are highly treatable. With the right help, people with mental illness can and do recover to live happily, fulfilled lives.

What Happens When Mental Illness Goes Untreated

If you leave mental health disorders untreated, they will get worse with time. The dangers of untreated mental illness are many and varied and can be extremely serious.

  • Untreated mental illness can lead to a decline in physical health. People with untreated mental illness are more likely to develop physical health problems, such as heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure.
  • People with untreated mental illness are also more likely to die prematurely. Studies have shown that people with untreated mental illness die an average of 25 years earlier than the general population. This is largely due to the fact that people with untreated mental illness are more likely to suffer from chronic physical health problems, as well as having a higher risk of suicide or accidental death.
  • Problems in relationships can also arise as a result of untreated mental illness. A person with untreated mental illness is more likely to experience difficulty maintaining relationships as a result of their illness. They may have problems with communication, trust, and intimacy. They are also more likely to experience conflict in their relationships. 
  • In addition, people with untreated mental illness are more likely to experience problems at work. They may have difficulty concentrating, keeping a job, or performing well at work due to their symptoms. They may also be more likely to be unemployed long-term.
  • Alcohol and drug abuse can also be problems caused by untreated mental illness. The prevalence of problems with alcohol and drugs among people who have untreated mental health issues is higher than that of the general population. They may use these substances to cope with their symptoms or to self-medicate. This can lead to addiction and other serious problems. 
  • Mental illness can also lead to homelessness, as people may be unable to keep up with rent or mortgage payments, or may be evicted due to disruptive behavior. An estimated 20-25% of people who are homeless suffer from some form of severe mental illness. This is normally because they are no longer able to maintain employment or housing as a result of their worsening symptoms.

Treatment Can Make a Difference

Mental health problems can be caused by a number of factors, including genetics, environment, and life experiences. However, it is important to remember that mental health problems are not the result of personal weakness or character flaws. They are real, medical conditions that require treatment just like any other illness.

There are a variety of different treatments available for mental health problems, and the best approach depends on the individual and the specific condition. However, most treatment plans will involve some combination of medication, therapy, and lifestyle changes.

Types of Treatment

Medication is often an important part of treatment for mental health problems and can help to reduce symptoms and improve overall functioning. However, it is important to remember that medication is not a cure in and of itself, and it does not always work for everyone. Therapy can also be a very effective treatment for mental health problems, especially alongside medication. It can provide support, help people to understand their condition, and teach them new skills to manage their symptoms.

Lifestyle changes can also be an important part of treatment for mental health problems. Eating a healthy diet, getting regular exercise, and getting enough sleep are all important for maintaining good mental health. Reducing stress, avoiding alcohol and drugs, and staying connected with friends and family can also help.

Life Adjustment Team 

If you or someone you know is struggling with a mental health problem, there is help available. There are many different types of treatment available, and there is no one-size-fits-all approach. However, with the right treatment, recovery is possible. Contact us today to get started