Mental health, growing issue globally and being is ignored for the wrong reasons. As adulting gets more real the older we get, we find that more and more people are suffering from a mental illness. Mental illnesses include depression, antisocial behaviour, anxiety disorders and so forth. Mental health is extremely important and needs to be taken seriously. As a Psychology Major (ya I am), I would like to share my views on mental health.
Studying psychology in university was eye opening. People’s behaviour, mental illness, organisational aspects and so forth, really did open my mind. Then you have TV shows where the main character is a psychological whizz, a master of psychology and blah blah blah. It’s a script! In it’s simplest form – it’s the character paying extra attention to the change in behaviour. Just pay attention. But I digress. Mental illness fascinated me the most. Movies weren’t the best teacher – “you retard”, “she’s a psychopath”, “he is antisocial”. All colloquially used which made the lectures even more interest. My eyes were opened.
I learnt what I could and applied what I knew. In doing so, I started paying attention to global trends and things having been concerning ever since. Since paying attention to mental illness and the work being done towards bettering the lives of those with mental illness, I found that there is a lack of qualified personnel to deal with the amount of people with a mental illness. Makes sense! My Psych lecture had about 400 – 500 students, by the final year, we were about 15 – 30. I can only imagine how much smaller the classes got.
With more people being diagnosed with a mental illness, there needs to be an increase in trained professionals to deal with the people. In the UK, there are pleading for more students to take up the profession to cater for the increasing number of people with mental illness. Not only in the UK is this a problem, South Africa is also struggling to cater to the increasing number of patients. In Zimbabwe, I can only imagine what the situation is.
I know there are people working on creating awareness of mental illness and those are steps in the right direction. Supported by trained professionals, there are programs around the country looking to help those with a mental illness. Unfortunately, I feel like not enough is being done. There are schools of thought that feel some mental illnesses are “the white man’s disease” or seeking help from a traditional healer is the best practice. I have never known a disease of any kind to discriminate. And if you think mental illness will never affect you, please think twice. Medication has been known to have side effects that cause change in mental behaviour.
But the cry for more professionals needs to be addressed. Psychology, psychiatry and so forth are exciting career paths. People with mental illnesses are increasing by the diagnosis and trained professionals are necessary to cater to all the patients. If you are able to assist, please help. You may not be a trained professional but assisting in raising awareness will go a long way.