DE-STIGM MENTAL THE WAR AGAINST MENTAL Words by A M ental illnesses can be experienced by anyone at any age and could stem from a myriad of genetic, biological, psycholog- ical and environmental factors –not a personal weakness or defect-and affects the moods, thoughts and behaviors. There are more than 200 classified forms of mental health disordersand they usually present themselves gradually and can be triggered by an avalanche of seemingly common occurrences such as excessive stress or fatigue. Society has had a long-existing prejudicial stance against mental illnesses, at- tributing negativity, ignorant and misinformed notions to people coping with these illnesses. They are viewed as unstable, dangerous, and unpredictable and have borne the brunt of exclusion in society and even worse, brutalization. Unfortunately, this bias has been a major deterrent to recovery and progress as mental health patients fundamentally require understanding and support to get better. Mental health stigma could be social; characterized by the percep- tion and behaviors of others towards patients and the ‘labels’ they are tagged with. The stigma could also be perceived or self-stigma characterized by the internalized feelings of the sufferer who gets plagued by the discrimination he faces and spirals into dark feelings of shame and unacceptability and even worse, suicide. Mental Hygiene was a term coined in the mid-19th century when there was an outcry for abetter perception of the mentally ill. This idea advocated that mental illnesses were not just situations that “other people” found themselves in or something alien or farfetched. Social psychologist Marie Jahoda classified mentally healthy individuals under six major categories which are a positive 26 / BLANCKLITE / OCT 2018 / attitude towards the self, personal growth, of reality and healthy interpersonal relati As it is easy to deem ourselves normal an imperative to realize that the feat of havin to unconditionally offer support to those their own. The societal constructs of how the menta fered in race, religion and other social se understanding of victims of these conditi covery, if at all. The emergence of the in these numbers with quick information, influencing made available by the interne to this deadly scourge turn out to be “close mental ailments in private for fear of bei worse until the disparities become more comes the denial by family and friends, t those who may even offer their help; all of and so goes the never-ending cycle. “Mental health is a sensitive subject amon be. We need to talk about it more, get rid The Mental Health Atlas formed by the W last year proposes a global plan to achiev Health Plan. More research projects that t bined efforts at country level in complian services. This may be in an effort to cur