In all the news coverage it is becoming more and more obvious that the truth is reducing in importance in the eyes of many. Statements such as ‘people are tired of experts’ or the hilariously unfunny ‘alternative facts’ coupled with all the fake news stories, shows that the truth is a rare commodity that too few people seem to care about.
Now don’t worry, this isn’t a rant about politics, it’s a rant that this goes beyond politics, into the world of mental health. I’ve had what I thought were well meaning debates on mental health where I’ve simply stated facts (no opinion, purely facts) and been abused for disagreeing with people, told to let it go and to not force my opinion on them.
In my mind facts are facts yet so many seem all too happy to go the ignorance is bliss route. Only ignorance isn’t bliss, it delays the inevitable and often makes the inevitable worse, it makes you create your mindset on false information. It contributes to stigma, so it contributes to deaths. There are 18 suicides a day in the UK, 16 of them due to mental illness. How many of these people reach that state due in part to the stigma they either face or fear? How many could be saved if that stigma was reduced?
Stigma kills, stigma makes peoples lives significantly worse. If people knew the truth, the stats, the evidence stigma would fade – only too many aren’t prepared to listen to the truth, or accept it as truth.
But I do not want to finish this on an overly pessimistic note. What we can do is fight back against this willful ignorance and know the facts, know the truth ourselves. There are still people willing to hear it, willing to open their minds to it and we can change the world one mind at a time. It used to be socially acceptable to drink and drive – people didn’t want to change but over time it became vilified, society changed, one mindset at a time. Same with LGBT rights.