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9 November, 2019 00:00 00 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 9 November, 2019 01:00:37 AM
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Stigma surrounding mental illness

Stigma surrounding mental illness

It is worrying to note that as many as 17 per cent of adults in the country have been suffering from various mental health problems and of them 92 per cent do not take any treatment. This provides an alarming picture showing that the stigma surrounding mental health in this country is as strong as ever. Inaccessibility to mental healthcare facilities is due to stigmatization of patients as “crazy”, stereotyping mental illnesses. One deeply rooted barrier to mental health is the cultural belief system in our country, due to which mental illness is often associated with supernatural forces, and thus tagging them as witchcraft, possession, and black magic.

Mental disorders are among the risk factors for communicable and non-communicable diseases. They can also contribute to unintentional and intentional injury. At the same time, many health conditions increase the risk for mental disorder. For example obesity has been associated with significant increase in depression. Stigma about mental disorders and discrimination against patients and families prevent people from seeking mental health care.

We believe that mental health should be integrated into primary health care, should be provided in general hospitals and community based mental health services should be developed. Mental health promotion requires multi-sectoral approach. The focus should be on promoting mental health throughout the life-span to ensure a healthy start in life for children to prevent mental disorders in adulthood and old age. Mechanisms to monitor human rights should be established to protect people from inhuman and degrading treatment. There is a need of socio-economic empowerment of women by improving access to education. Community and day centres should be built for them at district level and stress prevention programmes should be started at work.

Some are reluctant to take medicines over fear of dependency. A mentally ill person is considered dangerous and not enough productive for the society. These misleading stereotypes impact adversely on people’s struggle to cope with their condition. Mental health is important for a country’s progress. On an individual level, stigma and shame should be uprooted.

It is imperative that the government engage in a robust campaign to remove societal stigmas attached to the treatment of mental health problems. In fact, such treatment should be a part of overall health-related development in the country. Public awareness programmes addressing mental health issues should be launched through media.

 

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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