By: Olivia Cheng
You hear that we are becoming a more accepting nation, that there is greater equality being built around the foundations of (wo)mankind and that more and more bridges are being constructed each day. Whether it’s the issue of nature or nurture, there are some things that are beyond control, and so intuitively it makes sense that these people not be judged for these differences. There are a myriad of stigmas associated with these different qualities of people, but there is so much under the surface – and this is becoming more recognized by colleges, corporations, and the media as well. And that regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, religion, etc. people are becoming more accepting than in years prior. The country is making a slow progress to a rainbow-colored coalition of cultural diversity. It’s not perfect, but the key word is progress.
Yet there is one phrase that isn’t often thrown into this mix of diversity and that phrase is “mental disorder.” And maybe that’s a good thing, because disorders like depression are merely that: disorders. Regarding depression, like several disorders, there are medications that be taken to alleviate the symptoms and help that can be sought to treat it. There is no reason to hold a stigma against someone who is facing a medical condition like this, for something that was not asked for but given, for something that is merely the work of circumstances beyond control. (Sound familiar?) The difference with depression is that unlike the other values that add culture to a crowd, depression can really only add burden. But there are routes that can be taken to soothe the mind of it and help create a better lifestyle. There are pills and medication available - as for most treatable disorders and diseases, like lactose intolerance or hypertension. And so it makes sense not to be grouped in the same category as say race or gender.
But somehow it still is. It may not be labeled as a diverse quality, which is indeed becoming more stressed over the years – but it is placed under the label of stigmatized, and that group as a whole still has a long way to go.