When a person is sick with a physical and visible disease, the people around them understand what the illness is, they understand that the illness is impacting the individual’s ability to perform at their peak, and on some level the individual garners sympathy and empathy from those who are able to see him battle with said disease.
Unfortunately, in many societies this same empathy and sympathy is not garnered by individuals who are battling with mental health issues. In fact, society places a stigma on these individuals, and at times this stigma can prevent individuals from getting the help that they need. This is unfortunate because just because an individual does not seek help for a mental or emotional illness, this does not mean that the illness does not exist. It is still impacting the affected person’s life as well as impacting the lives of those around them.
Neuroscience curriculum development is key to helping medical professionals identify ways that they can work with the community to remove some of the stigma that makes it difficult for individuals who need it the most help to get the help they need.
The truth is that mental health and emotional health issues play a larger role in the overall health of a society than was once realized. The World Health Organization reported that around the world in 2001, it was felt that at least one quarter of the world’s population was suffering with some form of mental, behavioral, or emotional disorder. The same report said that it seems that these emotional and behavioral disorders contribute to in excess of 10 percent of the burden of disease, and that number was projected to raise to 15 percent by the year 2020.
The National Institute of Mental Health says that in the United States in excess of 57 million adults have some form of mental or behavioral health conditions. These staggering numbers make it clear why helping people get the needed mental health care is so important.
Part of encouraging people to get the mental health care they need is helping people identify the conditions that signify a mental health issue. Another issue is to get people to start a mental health care program and to finish it all the way. Currently, it is estimated that less than 40 percent of individuals who have serious mental illnesses get the treatment that they need throughout the year. It is hoped that these statistics will improve as the stigma of mental and emotional health issues is removed.