FE Mental Health Series | You are just sad, not sad; Stop using serious mental health disorders as adjectives – News Healthcare

Trigger warning: depression, suicide

“I’m feeling very sad.” “This job is giving me anxiety.” I have severe PTSD from today’s traffic jams.” “She loves cleaning. He has OCD.” Ugh, I’m going to kill myself.

We’ve all used these words, right? At one point or another, we’re all guilty of tossing around serious mental health conditions like adjectives. However, we often forget that this behavior is leading to misrepresentation of serious mental health disorders such as depression and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD).

Over the past few years, words like psycho, schizo, looney, and crazy have become acceptable in everyday language. Your friend who regularly cleans his house and keeps things in order may have a tendency toward neatness, but that doesn’t mean he has OCD. Your boss who has a condescending tone may be rude. This does not mean that they are narcissistic.

A 2013 report by Australia’s National Mental Health Commission showed that the misuse of clinical diagnoses meant some people became insensitive to the seriousness of mental illness.

“The mixing of mental health terminology with our everyday speech can deafen us to the real meaning and importance of mental health issues and cause us to ignore or minimize the needs of someone experiencing a real mental health difficulty.” Could. The report said that while many people support an open mind, others hold critical and in some cases bigoted views of mental illness.

Mental health conditions are very common in all countries of the world. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), one in eight people in the world suffers from a mental disorder. Anxiety disorders and depressive disorders are most common in both men and women.

According to WHO’s 2022 World Mental Health Report, mental disorders are the leading cause of years lived with disability (YLD), accounting for one in every six YLDs globally.

“Schizophrenia, which occurs in approximately 1 in 200 adults, is a primary concern: in its acute stage it is the most damaging of all health conditions. People with schizophrenia or other serious mental health conditions die on average 10 to 20 years earlier than the general population, often from preventable physical illnesses, the global health agency said.

“The burden of mental illness is definitely increasing. According to WHO estimates, there are 2443 disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) associated with mental health problems for every 100,000 people in India. In fact, mental health disorders are expected to cause economic losses of US$1.03 trillion between 2012 and 2030. I believe there are still many gaps in the availability and quality of mental health treatments, as well as a shortage of mental health specialists, making access to mental health care a major concern in India,” said Dr. Puneet Dwivedi, Chief Mental Health and Behavioral Sciences at Artemis Hospital Gurugram said Financial Express.com.

Dr. Dwivedi also said that very low levels of mental health literacy, coupled with inaccurate or misleading portrayals of mental illness, further increases the stigma associated with mental health illnesses in India.

‘Stop using mental health conditions as adjectives’

Many people unconsciously trivialize mental illnesses by using words like panic attack to express common everyday emotions. There are more than 150 disorders listed in the current Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, or DSM-5. Unfortunately, some disorders bear the brunt of inappropriate language use—obsessive-compulsive disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia.

Saying you’re depressed when you’re depressed, OCD when you’re organized, or Bipolar when you’re moody minimizes the seriousness of mental illness, generalizing emotional disturbance and serious illness. Creates confusion between situations that require professional help.

“Using mental health illnesses as adjectives not only adds to the problem of stigma but also ignores the feelings of people who actually suffer from the condition. This may cause sufferers to question their diagnosis and may not want to actively participate in the treatment process,” said Dr. Dwivedi. Financial Express.com.

She also pointed out that social media allows people to self-express their experiences with mental illness which can have a positive impact and make mental illness more relevant. However, the availability of inaccurate portrayals of mental illness is one of the main drawbacks of this trend, he said.

“Additionally, many inadequately trained individuals providing mental health counseling may mislead people and cause more harm than good,” he said.

It is important to highlight that mental illness is a serious health problem that causes impaired functioning or trouble with daily activities. As a result, people with mental illnesses have a higher risk of developing chronic physical health conditions.

“Some of the many adverse effects of this behavior on people suffering from these conditions include being misunderstood, reduced help-seeking behavior, marginalization by family members or peers, increased self-doubt,” said Dr. Dwivedi. etc. may be included.”

‘These phrases are not an accurate representation’

Casual statements towards various mental health conditions are extremely problematic because they create misconceptions about mental illness. It is notable that trivializing the experiences of people suffering from these illnesses makes it more difficult for people to recognize when they need mental health counseling.

“People continue to believe long-held myths and stereotypes, some of the common ones being weakness in character, bad karma and more. Language also plays a huge role in perpetuating this stigma because the way we refer to people with mental illness communicates respect and dignity. ‘I am not crazy and I don’t need to see a psychiatrist or psychologist,’ says Mimansa Singh Tanwar, clinical psychologist at Fortis National Mental Health Programme, adding that people still refuse to accept that they suffer from mental health issues. Struggling with the situation. Financial Express.com.

Tanwar also stressed that such behavior creates a barrier among people to accept it as a disease that needs treatment. “It impacts their daily lives, causing disruptions in functioning and significant emotional distress,” he said.

He also highlighted that stigma has been one of the major reasons around the world that people feel hesitant in seeking care and treatment for mental health illnesses.

“Even though we have come a long way, there is still a lack of awareness related to mental health and illnesses,” he said.

Using mental disorders as adjectives, synonyms, and metaphors in daily conversation may seem harmless, but we often forget that there are people who actually live with these serious conditions and use them to negatively describe people or events. The casual use of mental health terms promotes stigma towards mental health. Disorder.

‘The state of mental health is seriously low’

In addition to being widespread and costly, mental health conditions are also seriously underreported, according to WHO.

“Mental health systems around the world are marked by large gaps and imbalances in information and research, governance, resources and services. Other health conditions are often prioritized over mental health, and within mental health budgets, community-based mental health care is consistently underfunded,” Global Health said.

WHO said that many factors prevent people from seeking help for mental health conditions, including poor quality of services, low levels of health literacy in mental health, and stigma and discrimination.

In many places, formal mental health services do not exist. Even when they are available, they are often inaccessible or inaccessible. People would often rather suffer mental distress without relief than risk the discrimination and exclusion that comes with accessing mental health services.

Despite progress in some countries, people with mental health conditions often experience serious human rights violations, discrimination and stigma.

How to effectively address the problem of trivializing mental health issues?

The language we use makes a significant difference. We can avoid contributing to this behavior if we think more carefully and consider our words before we write and/or speak, and avoid relying on mental illness terminology when writing and speaking.

According to Dr. Dwivedi, the best approach is to use various strategies that help in increasing awareness.

“Studies have shown that knowing or interacting with someone with a mental illness is one of the most effective strategies for reducing stigma, so individuals are encouraged to share their stories about their struggles with mental health. It may be beneficial to encourage. Other strategies could include having qualified or influential people advocate for mental health, using facts to highlight misconceptions on social media,” he said.

According to Tanwar, everyone has to play their role. “Schools, colleges, organizations, corporates, RWAs, all sectors should take active steps to create sensitivity and awareness about mental health. Awareness brings acceptance, early identification and timely intervention for mental health issues,” he said.

He stressed that people suffering from mental illness fear being judged or discriminated against by others, which may result in them having experiences that involve their basic human rights.

“It is important that we maintain sensitivity, respect and dignity towards them and continue to build strong systems of support because mental health is a universal right,” he said.

Disclaimer: If you or someone you know is struggling with their mental health or is in crisis, contact Vandrewala Foundation’s helpline (+91-9999666555), which is available in 11 languages ​​including English and can be contacted via telephone or WhatsApp. Can be accessed 24×7. You can also contact Fortis Hospital’s national helpline number 91-8376804102 which is available 24×7. You can also contact the government mental health rehabilitation helpline KIRAN on 18005990019 which is available 24×7.

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Image Source : www.financialexpress.com

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