Give mental illness equal attention
Depression-anxiety-panic-insomnia is a vicious circle for those affected. Often, without medical attention and medication or therapy, this is only interrupted by an act of desperation—suicide. This form of mental health—or illness—should not come second to other serious illnesses such as cancer, diabetes, or schizophrenia.
In isolation, which has been scientifically studied by researchers in Antarctica and astronauts in space, the chemical balance in the brain shifts. Many substances work together and a wrong note can destroy the whole symphony like in an orchestra.
Statistically, people who are exposed to stress more often are more likely to suffer from heart and circulatory problems. The immune system also becomes weaker, opening the door to cancer. Unfortunately, many people with mental illness in the Philippines are only kept in psychiatric clinics but not actively treated, so the problem is only shifted instead of being solved. That is not how you help people.
Anyone can be affected, whether rich or poor, man or woman, old or young, and regardless of nationality, skin color, or religion. Ernest Hemingway, a successful writer, shot himself after years of battling depression; a son of Albert Einstein spent most of his life in a psychiatric ward in Switzerland. Friedrich Nietzsche died in a mental institution— just a few examples out of many.
Sick people do not need pity, what they need is help. I hope the next administration sees this as a challenge and not just a small problem that can be neglected. The prejudice and stigma against people with such diseases are not only unjustified but a crime against human rights. There is no reason to be ashamed.
Dr. Jürgen Schöfer, Ph.D.,[email protected]
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If you or someone you know needs help, call the National Center for Mental Health hotline at 0917-899-USAP (8727); (02) 7-989-USAP; or 1553 (landline to landline, toll-free).
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