Studies show that one in four in Sweden will suffer from mental illness at some point in their life. On average one in two of all women in Sweden and one in four of all men experience depression at some point in their life.
It could happen to anybody
No one is exempt from vulnerability but our experiences in life will affect us in different and individual ways. Genetic make-up, our social context and upbringing, traumatic experiences and other severe factors of stress may generate mental illness. It could, proverbially, happen to anybody and nobody knows how one is to react in certain situations.
Preconceptions enhance difficulties
During mental illness it is important that one is faced by people keenly alive to one’s feelings and needs. The basic guidelines to other people are quite simple.
Always use common courtesy. Do not assume familiarity by using the person’s first name or by touching their shoulder or arm, unless you know the person well enough to do so. Do not patronize, condescend, or threaten. Do not make decisions for the person, or assume their preferences.
Beneath all the symptoms and behaviors someone with a mental illness may exhibit is an ordinary human being who has the same wants, needs, dreams and desires as anyone else. Don’t avoid people with mental health disabilities. If you are fearful or uncomfortable, learn more about mental illness. Kindness, courtesy, and patience usually smooth interactions with all kinds of people, including people who have a mental health disability. In short treat people with mental health disabilities as you would wish to be treated yourself.
But since awareness of what mental illness actually is still are not that common in our society, many unfortunately experience an interaction with others colored by prejudices, fear and ignorance which tend to further isolate and disenfranchise those with mental health issues. That this undermines given care and support as well as the individual’s own recovery may be taken for granted.