The Myth of Mental Illness Amongst the Asian community

So, this is now my third post! Thanks for reading! Just a quick note, my blog is primarily based on personal views and experience, sometimes referring to research and some background information, with the aim of helping anyone who may be suffering, or know of anyone suffering from a mental health illness. I would welcome any advice and feedback on my blogs, or your personal thoughts on the topic.

I’ve been asked by several people (since starting this blog) about my opinions on this topic, so I decided to write a short blog about this matter. This is a blog about attitudes towards mental health in the Asian community (although, this doesn’t apply to all); and the same ‘myth of mental illness’ is found in other ethnic communities (such as the African Caribbean community, and the Latino community).

Mental illness is considered an unspoken ‘taboo’ subject. Coming from an Indian background, I understand this matter all too much; particularly because I am a psychology student – the usual response to people hearing this is ‘… oh, why’, and occasionally (but rarely) ‘wow, that’s so interesting!’

Whilst attitudes towards mental illness have somewhat shifted, people still remain highly uninformed and many are still reluctant to accept that mental health illnesses are real, and people are not just simply ‘crazy’! However, considering that 1 in 4 of us has a mental illness, it’s time that attitudes change.

It’s actually shocking how many people have confided in me lately about a mental health issue that they have (mainly depression), and have asked me not to mention anything out of shame and guilt. Almost all of these people were from the Asian community, and it’s clear to see where the shame and guilt feelings emerge from. It’s for this reason that attitudes really need to change, so that help can be given to individuals who are suffering.

In my opinion, the main issue stems from a lack of acceptance for mental illnesses as being identifiable, diagnosable, and treatable illnesses; and it’s also related to feelings of shame and guilt (and being seen as different by others in the community); and in some cases (in general – not just in the Asian community), complete ignorance towards the subject. So, attitudes do need to change – and with increasing help and information available, they should change!

Thanks for reading! My next blog will be on depression!

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