Why people don’t reach out

If you or someone close to you is struggling with a mental health disorder, you may find that it’s difficult…

If you or someone close to you is struggling with a mental health disorder, you may find that it’s difficult to talk about it and you may feel ashamed or guilty for feeling the ways you do. It’s so important to talk about what you’re going through, either to a friend or family member or by reaching out to a support service such as Student Wellbeing.

Mental Health Stigma

The reasoning behind mental health stigma in the current day often comes from the preconceptions of those with mental illnesses in historical times. For example, in the 19th century, there were no developed mental health treatments, research was sparse, and those who displayed symptoms of any mental illness were often considered to be suffering from ‘madness’.

In the 1950s people still saw mental health as something defective and sent those with mental disorders to asylums. Electroshock therapy was often used along with artificial fever therapy, both of which caused a lot of pain to the individual and had no scientific basis.

Currently, we treat mental illnesses with medication and/or therapy such as cognitive behavioural therapy. Although mental health research has a long way to go and there are still vast improvements to be made in the treatment of people who suffer from mental illness, we no longer criminalise or ostracise people for having these illnesses.

Vulnerability

Allowing ourselves to be vulnerable is scary, and opening up about our mental illnesses and symptoms exposes some of our biggest fears. If your mental illness involves feelings of paranoia or stems from negative experiences, you may find it difficult to share these experiences for fear of being harmed.

To help mitigate these feelings of distrust, it may be easier to speak to a mental health professional, such as a counsellor or psychiatrist. The Mental Health Act of 1983 regulates the ways those with a mental illness can be treated and their rights. This legislation states that people should be treated with respect and dignity, and in ways that maximise independence, and you can no longer be sectioned unless you display serious symptoms and are at risk of harming yourself or someone else. This is not to say that you would be sectioned for admitting to self-harm, however.

Why you should reach out

Bottling up your feelings will only make you feel worse and, personally, it makes me feel more isolated and alone. If you reach out to people you can understand that you’re not alone in what you’re feeling, and there are ways you can be helped. No one should have to suffer through the effects of mental illness by themselves, so if you do need help, here are some local support services.

Student Wellbeing: Walk in’s 10-4 on Monday to Friday, and 5-7 on Thursday evenings during term time

Steps2Change – Lincolnshire’s NHS mental health support service, you can self-refer online or give them a call.

LPFT single point of access – if you need more urgent support, for example from a crisis team, you can call the LPFT (Lincolnshire Partnership Foundation Trust) single point of access to be connected to the right departments and make a self-referral.

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