We’ve come a long way from the times when people were electrocuted into submission and forcefully chained in asylums when they were diagnosed with mental health issues. From advancements in the use of controlled pharmaceuticals, to various therapy methods, mental health is slowly but surely being managed better and allowing more people to live a better quality of life despite their diagnosis.
Yet why are we still finding it so hard to admit that we may have a problem, or may require therapy? Why do we shy away from psychiatric medication or feel embarrassed to talk about having mental health issues? Isn’t this a clear sign that we are still a society which stigmatizes mental health, a society that has all the luxury of the Internet to learn more, but is still stuck in the rut of cultural and conventional thinking, that if you have mental health issues you need to be locked up, or worse, you need religious intervention because you are possessed or cursed.
The war against the stigma is still raging, and mental health professionals are front-line soldiers who bear arms to enlighten the public, are few and far between. We need more feet on the ground to raise awareness, more people talking about pressing issues and pushing policy changes to accept mental health as a legitimate illness that deserves insurance coverage, medical leave and the same opportunities as someone able-bodied to be employed.
If you, or someone you know is struggling in secret, and you know you can at least direct them to some help, please do so and change their lives. Asian society has seen enough suffering in silence and regrets over suicides that no one saw coming.