Last Updated on Saturday, 30 January, 2021 at 1:19 pm by Andre Camilleri
Dr Georgiana Farrugia Bonnici is a doctor and a radiologist
Mental health stigma is a negative attribute amongst society as people may still perceive mental illnesses as a sign of weakness. As a result,individuals with mental illnesses,including those at top professional positions, are challenged doubly. On one hand, they are struggling with the symptoms that result from their conditions. On the other hand,they are challenged by the prejudice that may result from the misconceptions about their mental illnesses.
It is not uncommon to hear comments that professionals with mental health difficulties may be less successful than others. It is to no surprise that individuals suffering from mental health illnesses make efforts to conceal their problems from others because they fear they can be mistreated. Unfortunately,this secrecy can be degrading as it acts as an obstacle to the treatment of mental illnesses and favours the promotion of a loss in productivity,poor self-care habits,withdrawal from social situations as well as suicidal ideation.
The way forward requires our active participation. Everyone can lend their voice to suppress mental health stigma.A good starting point is to characterize all judgmental viewpoints surrounding mental illnesses by labelling them exactly as what they are:an intolerance for a group of individuals.In this regard,media coverage is essential to spread positive mental health messages whilst challenging current discriminations.We should also focus on fixing any systemic issues,creating thriving working environments as well as promoting the induction of more workplace initiatives that support individuals that are dealing with psychological disorders.
In today’s busy world,we are all presented with two choices:Be it the widespread reduction of prejudice against collegues with mental illnesses,or the maintenance,through disinterest,of the status quo?May we always choose our words and actions wisely.
“We cannot change the direction of the wind but we can always adjust the sails.”(C.Scott)