Lesson 1 Definitions

Stigma surrounding mental health

  • A global survey in 2015 found that 98% of respondents believe that people with mental illness are adversely affected by stigma and discrimination. source: World survey of mental illness stigma – PubMed (nih.gov)
  • “Stigma” negative connotation, that may lead to someone being marginalized or not taken seriously because of their lack of mental health
  • That leads to various issues such as hesitancy of communication surrounding issues, shame, guilt, lack prevention, information and diagnosis as well as hesitancy to create an environment where people feel safe and welcome to speak up.
The main cause of stigma:
  • Adding to the misinformation that exists including mental health
  • While social media have contributed in raising awareness on issues we don’t really talk about, they have their drawbacks.
  • “signs you have a certain mental illness” are not helpful nor fool-proof and there is consistent evidence that self-diagnosing is inaccurate.
  • Representation of mental illness we see on movies, TV shows, even the lingo we use to describe odd or undesirable behaviour does not give an accurate description of what mental issues look like.
  • We see violent, uncontrollable, even sometimes criminal behaviour being portrayed as mental illness.
  • As a result, we are hesitant in sharing, even seeking treatment and getting a diagnosis in fear we’d be like “those people”
  • What we can do? Start a conversation
  • You’d be surprised how many people deal with the same things that you do or have the same thoughts.
    • ask them how they cope with their feelings
    • ask them how they have solved their issues
    • Ask them what the impact of these feeling in their work-life or personal life.
    • Be open with your feelings. If someone understands them, he\she may be able to assist you.
    • Try to be open and express empathy when listening to someone’s problem. You might someday experience the same one.

Diagnosis has been going up; doesn’t necessarily mean that there are more people who struggle mentally now, we are just starting to diagnose them!

Relevance and importance of mental health

Mental health is still a taboo subject in many societies. As a result, many people still find it difficult to talk about their mental health issues and get appropriate help. Those affected are often ashamed or have a false image of mental health.

Burnout – knowing the signs and helping aid prevention

Burnout – usually associated with “office” jobs; is it true?

  • Burnout is a reaction to prolonged or chronic job stress and is characterized by three main dimensions: exhaustion, cynicism (less identification with the job), and feelings of reduced professional ability.
  • In simpler terms, you lose interest in your job, you feel like you hit a wall, following prolonged, unaddressed stressed caused by it.
  • The reason that this may be associated with mostly “office” jobs, is the fact that these people “take home” work with them. Either physically or mentally, they are not able to check out since there is always another email to answer, or they keep thinking about solutions for projects they have ongoing.
  • However, let’s look at some possible instigators of burnout and see whether it applies the job you currently undertake.