Looking to the future, there are many aspects of mental illnesses that need to be further investigated. However, gaining funding for research into mental illnesses can be hard to come by, this is mostly because many mental illnesses are not deemed to have severe physical impacts on the body, and therefore the results for the research will never be able to cure mental illnesses.
This also leads on to the fact, that mental illnesses are different for everybody, therefore not one treatment can be used for all, which is also the same for many physical disabilities. Going forward there needs to be a greater understanding of the ways in which mental illnesses can affect different people, and we need to stop focusing on trying to use the same techniques to ‘treat’ all mental health patients.
As discussed in the previous blog, openness is key to dissolving the stigma around mental health, that means that we need to accept that we all have an element of a mental disability. However for some it may be a small fear whilst for others it can be hard to go through a day without at least one panic attack. Since the development of social media, research has stated that the use of social media can have both a positive and negative impact on mental health.
Often the negatives point towards, only bullying, having too much access to negative news, which in turn can lead to negative thoughts and also having information too easily accessible that it’s overwhelming (particularly people self-diagnosing both mental and physical illnesses). In comparison it has been suggested to also have a positive influence of mental health, particularly for younger generations, as there is more access to information, celebrities and those in the public eye are beginning to be more open regarding mental illness which in turn highlights the need for people to be open about the way in which they are feeling. Finally trends, particularly on twitter are often related to mental illness and those that look at trends regularly will see the increase in trends regarding mental health.
In recent months, many large social media campaigns surrounding various mental illnesses have launched, many of which with outstanding results in highlighting various mental illnesses as well as helping people to open up and discuss their mental illness. A large UK campaign currently running is being promoted by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry, Heads Together aims at changing the way we all talk about mental health. Having such iconic ambassadors for a major campaign focusing on breaking the stigma of mental illness and highlighting that we all need to talk differently about mental illnesses, highlights just how far we have come as a society in opening up about mental illnesses. However, there is still a long way to go, before mental illnesses will be considered to be at the same level as physical illnesses.
Overall discussions regarding mental illnesses and the stigma related to mental illnesses, it could be argued have significantly shifted the last 20 years. I would personally argue the last 5 years I have seen a shift in peoples perception of mental illnesses and the stigma relating to it, however, I would also be the first to admit that it still has a long way to go. The development of the internet and social media has in many ways lead to an overall positive development in highlighting mental illnesses. Therefore, in this modern world is social media a key to breaking the stigma around mental illnesses?
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