What is Stigma?
You can travel if you have a chronic health problem. One of the most important things is preparation. Do your research on the location, take the proper medications and supplements with you, and be aware of your limitations. Airlines have a form called the Passenger Medical Information Form (MEDIF) where you can explain any special needs you may have. A quick google search will bring up airline sites with links to their MEDIF forms. Arrange with your airline for a meal that meets your dietary restrictions. Do research on the destination. Learn about the kinds of foods on offer and find out what is safe for you to indulge in. Discuss any medical concerns with your doctor. Finding good travel health insurance is difficult, most cover emergencies only. So be sure research the healthcare policies of your destination.
The primary reason people don’t seek help is because of the shame, stigma, and discrimination associated with depression and other mental disorders. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, an estimated 66 percent of people with diagnosable mental disorders do not try and get help. Worldwide people with mental health issues face discrimination on a daily basis. The World Health Organization even states, “There are many who would argue that the most disadvantaged in any society are the stigmatized mentally ill.” Health professionals, like Melissa Pinto, PHD, RN, and a professor at Case Western Reserve University’s School of Nursing, say that stigma associated with “mental illness is a national health problem.”
Trump and surrogates for his campaign, such as Dr. Ben Carson and Chris Christie, have continually blamed gun violence on mental illness. During the third Republican candidates’ debate, in October 2015, Trump perpetuated an untrue and damaging stigma by conflating mental illness and gun violence.
There is a difference between mental illness and mental health. Just because someone is making bad choices, it doesn’t mean they have a mental illness. Labeling everyone who seems unbalanced as someone with a diagnosable mental disorder increases stigma for people who have mental disorders. When every greedy fame seeker is diagnosed by armchair psychologists as a narcissistic pathological liar, it does a disservice to the millions of Americans who experience mental illness every year.