Did you know research suggests that 25% of the population will seek medical help for mental illness in their lifetime? That is a quarter of the population. Think about your closest friends; if this is true, 1 in 4 will experience mental illness at some point in life.
Why then, so we still suffer in silence? Why are we afraid to ask others to pray for us because we are depressed or anxious? The short answer: stigma. Sadly, people don’t understand mental illness, and we tend to shy away from things we don’t understand.
I can remember when just saying the words cancer or AIDS was taboo. People would almost whisper the words and cancer was known as the Big C. With education, people have learned more about these illnesses, and much of the stigma has been erased. Athletes even openly discuss their HIV status on television today.
We are still a long way in the battle to eradicate stigma associated with mental illness. I challenge you to take time to learn about mental illness. Don’t be afraid of people with a mental illness; after all, this is 1/4 of the population. Mental illness is a part of a person’s life. It does not define his life.
If you know someone with a mental illness, find out how you can support and encourage them. Many long for someone they can share with about their struggles. Do your part to stop stigma!