LETTER: Mental illness is nothing to be ashamed of

Madam – Mental illness is something we need to be talking about as a community.

There is still such a stigma attached to children, and even adults, who don’t properly fit in with what is deemed ‘normal’ in society, and it’s sad that in such an ‘informed’ age, we are still so ignorant to diseases that cannot be blamed on the people who suffer from them.

I recently read an article where it seemed like one celebrity was mocking the emotional breakdown of another, and this person seemed to think it was funny.

When did a disease become funny? Why are we perpetuating the myths surrounding mental illness and why are we not actively campaigning for change the way some South Africans are so quick to down tools and strike when they don’t get their way?

When I was younger, there was no such thing as ADHD or ADD or whatever it is being called now. There was no Ritalin to help children ‘calm down’. No, there was just good old-fashioned discipline and extra hard work.

Parents these days are quick to diagnose and turn to the medicine cupboard, without fully exploring their options. This results in children who cannot and will not fully engage with anything or anyone, but are more than happy to spend their time on social media or in front of screens.

How is this helping?

For those who are ‘diagnosed’ at a later stage in their lives, this ‘convenient’ excuse seems to encompass a world of apathy, and they use it as a crutch to explain why they cannot do more in life, and why they cannot contribute properly to society.

But the thing is, it’s really just an excuse. Those who suffer from mental health issues need to be properly diagnosed and properly treated. Google is not your best friend if you exhibit symptoms which are worrying.

I want to urge parents, especially, to do their research into mental illnesses, and only treat children if the problem is severe enough to do so.

Pay Attention

Reveshni Moodley

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