Mental Health Pandemics and the Stigma Associated With It

The stigma associated with mental illness persists. While we now accept the fact that many people who suffer from mental disorders are not “normal” in any sense of the word, we still stigmatize them. This is especially the case during pandemics when the stigma is even more pronounced. However, attitudes about mental health are slowly changing. In fact, there are some positive signs that the stigma surrounding mental health disorders is beginning to fade.

Western ideas about the mind continue to influence our understanding. The Freudian duality between the conscious and unconscious mind, as well as self-help philosophies and schools of therapy have contributed to the evolution of the western model of mental health. While these shifts in perspective are more prevalent in the United States and Europe, there have been similar shifts in other countries. In the United States, for example, people are more likely to refer to brain disease, chemical imbalance, or genetic factors when discussing their mental health.

One of the biggest challenges in connecting people to mental health resources is the stigma associated with it. Despite being an essential part of our overall health, mental health issues are often viewed as a stigma. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, only 43% of Americans sought mental health counseling, and 30% did so on a doctor’s recommendation. Now, this stigma is being challenged, making it easier for people to seek the help they need.