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The stigma of mental illness


Published in

Diario de Navarra

Laura Fuentes Villar

As a nursing student at internship in the Psychiatric Hospitalisation Unit of Navarra, I experience first-hand how the stigmatisation of mental illness influences the people who suffer from it. After days of talking to them you discover that they feel ashamed to say that they have a mental illness or ashamed for having been admitted to a psychiatric area .

Out of ignorance, we throw our hands up in the air and are quick to point them out as "crazy, violent", "thugs", "dangerous", and these are false stereotypes. They are vulnerable people who need to be heard and understood by society.
How is a patient with mental illness different from a person with cancer who is admitted to an oncology ward or a person who needs to go to dialysis every day? Do we feel the same Degree empathy? What does that person with schizophrenia, bipolar or any other subject disorder convey to us? That person we have heard about because of their strange and irrational behaviours, their screams and outbursts suffered in occasional episodes. Let's stop pointing fingers and put ourselves in their shoes. The false beliefs that exist in society today have a direct impact on these people, as they often feel isolated. I ask that we do not contribute from our ignorance to increase their loneliness.