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Mental Health : Still in the dark ages?

There are approximately 450 million people globally effected by mental health issues. There are many great ideas from inspiring people in regards to the care of these people on a global scale ,but is the stigma with regards to mental health so great that these ideas are unable to take form in our society? A lack of knowledge and education greatly impacts on the worlds view of mental health ,often societal views on mental health are conjured up by the media with the majority of headlines depicting the mentally ill murderer or local suicide. In an age where we have the world at our finger tips and an array of information at hand ,why is it that mental health is still a subject hidden in the dark? a taboo subject that a minority really cares to know about? How can we help people feel comfortable speaking about their problems? and how to approach people when they require help? I am very interested in peoples views on this topic and having a debate on the pro's and con's of mental health services worldwide.

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    Mar 24 2013: We live in a culture where we can plead insanity as a defence in a court of law, and be declared not responsible for our actions. However, we can't plead determinism for the same purpose. It's as if we have presupposed that mental illness robs us of our free will, which is a dangerous and terrifying idea.

    Who would want to seek help from a system that apparently doubts ones autonomy as a human being? Furthermore, people fear a loss of personal freedom. Popular culture portrays psych wards as worse than prisons. People can lose power of attorney. Also, when people start to see you as "crazy" they start to see your actions differently. What used to be justified frustration is now "agitation". Do you question authority or have unusual beliefs? Those might now be symptoms.

    Admitting to having mental illness can be a scary thing.

    Intervention can be difficult too. People who need help may not want it. At what point do you deny them their freedom? Most mental illness exists on a spectrum, with many people that have similar symptoms, but they can cope just fine. We don't want a system that scoops up people that have done nothing wrong and tries to "cure" them. Its hard to know when to draw the line and intervene. Often they have estranged relationships with their family, who are the people most needed to help them access the help they need.

    Some people who seek help are actually just trying to get access to drugs to use recreationally. There is a large black market for prescription drugs. How do you filter them out? Remember, often mentally ill people have drug addiction problems (many would argue that addiction is a mental illness). Sometimes people self medicate with the drugs they had access to, which may have been illicit stimulants or opiates, to help them cope with the symptoms of their mental illness. At that point, how do you make them see the prescribed drugs as a treatment, and not just another drug, to be bought, sold or shared?

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