Cultural Progress on Mental Disorders

Mental disorders have been misunderstood for much of history, and are still grossly misunderstood within some societal sects. In North America, a great deal of progress has been made in our understanding of what mental disorders are and how they need to be approached, but there is still a great deal of ignorance surrounding them. Stigmatization and persecution of mental disorder is still prominent within some demographics, and it is very important that awareness of and defense for mental disorders continues to be discussed.

When it is culturally acceptable to perpetuate and enforce stigmas about mental disorders, it does a great deal of harm to members of the society. Any persons that a society deems as “throw-away,” “damaged goods” or “broken” becomes the victim of a stigma, which damages the way the person views themselves. People who are struggling with mental disorders, such as depression, anxiety or addiction, are already mentally taxed more than the average person, and burdening them with judgment, shaming and stereotyping bars them from making mental progress.

Cultural awareness of mental disorders calls for a reversal of harmful stigmas and ignorant opinions. This is accomplished through current information sharing, both verbal and written, on mental disorders. Advocates for mental disorder awareness are vocal on the hardships, challenges and natural limitations that mental disorders entail in order to enlighten groups of people who have been previously misinformed. Some audiences are receptive and some are resistant, but the most important thing is that the word is being spread.

Mental disorders are not a defect, a character flaw or a reason to pass judgment on someone. They are complex mental problems that are both psychological and biological in nature, and they require a great deal of patience and understanding, not criticism and ignorance. It is time that our culture came to the defense of those struggling with mental disorders and offered them sympathy and protection instead of persecution.

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