How Can We Eradicate Stigma of Mental Illness?

Budoy (Photo credit: abs-cbn)
Budoy (Photo credit: abs-cbn)
Budoy (Photo credit: abs-cbn)
Budoy (Photo credit: abs-cbn)

With the recent portrayals of famous actors and actresses on characters with mental illness, Filipinos are once again given examples of different characteristics of a mentally ill person. While some may doubt the accuracy of the depictions shown, the general reaction towards the mentally ill is negative, ranging from the words frightening, harmful, and violent. How much does the Filipino know about mental illness, and how it differs from mental health? Timely and careful research may gave us answers in the future. For now, let us take these personal steps in realizing how we can help our fellow Filipinos suffering from various mental illnesses.

Education. Helping others starts with helping ourselves. Whether we are allied health degree holders or not, specifically psychology, nursing, or medicine, taking time to read basic concepts about common mental illnesses may give us an idea how one acquires a condition, and how we can deal with different symptoms. Also, taking time in learning therapeutic ways of talking to a person may help us not only in dealing with the mentally ill, but also in coping with life, and helping our friends and family when they are in stressful situations, or in stages of grieving. Such blocks of knowledge are hard to learn, even for most nurses, but taking this step is very important in taking away the stigma that is currently dominant in our motherland. Remember, the first step is always the hardest, but without it, nothing else follows.

Empowerment. With our newly learned concepts, we can share to our friends and family what we have achieved, that is, self-empowerment. Sharing our knowledge will not only give them the ability to take part in our goal, but it will also multiply our first step, increasing our chance of helping our fellow Filipinos. They may or may not become interested after learning, but who knows when they will realize that they could also be an agent of change. What is important in this step is that we became a bridge between the mentally ill, and our inner circle. Remember, the fruits of knowledge can only be sweeter when applied by other men.

Encourage. Aside from sharing our knowledge, we can also make our friends and family realize that they can emulate what we do, and share their new-found knowledge. With their knowledge influencing their thoughts and actions, they will soon find it comfortable to talk about the mentally ill, and how proper knowledge can change the way the Filipino will think about such conditions. Remember, one successful bridge will lead to another step towards our goal. The sooner that it reaches the persons that need enlightenment, the better it is for the mentally ill.

Eradicate. This last step will not be accomplished without the previous steps. If we reach this destination, then we are successful in helping shape a new way of thinking towards the mentally ill. If the Filipino is well educated about the mentally ill, even with only the basic concepts in hand, that is the time when we can say that stigma of mental illness is something the Filipino overcame.

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About Rei Magnaye 7 Articles
A Filipino registered nurse who loves writing, dancing, and playing video games.