Mental health has always been a huge topic of discussion
Mental health has always been a huge topic of discussion. It is a complex issue that no one dares to talk about, which made me second guess whether I wanted to do this topic in the first place. However, that’s where the problem starts, we are always throwing it under the rug because “it’s just too much to talk about” and it’s too much of a “sensitive topic’ .Our knowledge of mental illness is limited, but we can say one thing for certain: mental illness isn’t laziness, attention-seeking, a bad diet, mental, physical or spiritual weakness or a failure of character. Mental illness is an illness, as real as cancer, diabetes and heart disease. It is a person’s condition that involves their emotional, physiological and social well- being. It affects how we think, feel and act which then determines how individuals handle stress, relate to others and make everyday choices. Mississippi burning is a true example of how the effects of slavery and discrimination continues to influence the African Americans social and economic standing. The horrifying treatment they were given would have eventually led to the suffering of mental illness that was never treated. Comparing it to today, yes, things have changed, but racism is still visible and current. The past may have been forgiven but not forgotten. It is often said that the youth of today is the future, but due to the fact that mental illness is a serious problem and rapidly on the increase, the future is clearly under threat.
Throughout history, African Americans experienced slavery, exclusion from health, educational, social, and economic resources. Although not as extreme, we still see some of this racism today. To be more specific, the socioeconomic inequalities experienced by African Americans. Socioeconomic status is linked to mental health: which is more common among those who are disadvantaged than among those who are more advantaged. African Americans are considered a minority and when the majority is racist, we know where the African Americans stand. Given that racism shapes the lives of people of colour, it seems not only reasonable but necessary to study the theory that racism influences health inequities. Negative stereotypes and rejecting attitudes have decreased, but continue to occur with measurable, hostile consequences for the mental health of African Americans. Historical and existing negative treatment have led to mistrust of authorities. Hardship in these communities is notable, and a limited safety net provides few services to address high levels of mental health need. Our multiculturalism involves a basic idea. That we recognise and celebrate our diversity in cultures. That everyone can be comfortable in their own skin, and in their heritage and cultural identity. But what happens if people aren’t comfortable? What happens if people may feel not pride but shame? How do we deal with the diversity of experience in mental health?
Mississipi burning, a film based around the kkk and the racist treatment towards the black community can be linked to mental illness. Racism hurts those who are its targets or victims. The hurt goes well beyond simple feelings. The harm of racism can also be more misleading. By this, I mean it can harm not only people’s health through medical stress or conditions, but also people’s very sense of self. In some ways, it is a deeper harm going to the very core of who someone is. This can inflict thoughtful damage, reinforcing in people’s mind a sense that they do not belong, or are considered a second class. An example in Mississippi burning, the kkk would continuously violently harass the blacks in a secretive manner, which would include, burning down their churches and/or houses, interrupting their meetings, physically abusing them which had left some dead and had given them limitations of where they can or can’t be. This not only leaves them in a state of the endless fear for themselves and their loved ones but also not being able to talk to the FBI’s who were there in regards to a case and were genuinely trying to help. As of the abuse they would constantly receive, they lost trust in every white individual who asked questions due to being so afraid of the consequences they would have to face if the kkk found out. Being in a situation like this would have definitely played with your mind, it would lead you down a very dark path, with no one to turn to. Having no one to talk to, no one to cry out to and having no hope, any human being would in one way shape or form, experience some form of mental illness. However, this is never talked about.
It is true that we now have workplaces, communities and health services more engaged on how we can improve the mental health and wellbeing’s of individuals. But then another tragic international media story comes along and we all take a big leap backwards. The reality is, despite the progress we have made, the stigma of mental illness still exists. We have to work harder to change the culture, bring mental health to the forefront and erase that stigma we can’t talk about. So why is it, that mental illness is so common but we barely know anyone who suffers from it? , the real question we should be asking ourselves and the people around us is Why do men and women of all ages who know that what they are thinking and feeling may be caused by mental illness feel unable to reach out and get the help they need? Why is this so commonly talked about but yet no action is provided? We as a society need to start changing our ways and perspectives, mental illness is no joke, so we need to stop treating it as if its some type of “phase” rather than a real life illness.
As a society, we need to do better. We must feel comfortable talking about mental health; otherwise, we will continue to lose lives and the people we love over something we may have been able to fix. We need to recognise mental illness for what it is, a disease that needs just as much attention as any other physical illness would. We need to recognise that our actions and words have consequences. That the racism that minorities experience on a daily basis and in the past have serious repercussions when we look at their overall health, particularly their mental health. We need to help fix this. We need to speak up. You would not put a bandaid on a broken arm, so stop trying to do that with mental health.