Mingling Activism with Mental Health and Stigmatization
Many pseudo bourgeois experts and academies have defined stigma as the most significant obstacle to strive for a quality of life for individuals with mental illnesses. What type of quality of life were they referring in placing their hope for these individuals to overcome with such obstacle like mental illnesses? It is as if they have set up their bar of expectations and force others to comply these expectations in order to cater their utopic hope for a better society and a better quality of life.
Alas, those who suffer such stigmatization on mental difficulties have dreadful consequences for those who are targeted, whereas aggravating by these difficulties they face to the point where it is not easy to differentiate the indications that caused by mental illness from those that are brought on by the effect of stigma. Stigma transpires when labeling, stereotyping, separation, status loss and discrimination exist at the same time in a situation of power imbalance.
Where does this power imbalance coming from? In the realm of activism, whereby the endless call for championing human rights is the mantra of many hypocrites who hide behind the veil of the so-called advocacy. Yet, with countless of forums, debates and discourses took place in the past, there are not much progress made for the outcome of such intellectual advocacy. To what as viewed, as intellectual aspects to them will not be applicable to others in reality on the streets. It is easier to be complacent and embrace ignorance better than to continue to care further beyond for those who continued to be stigmatize and ostracize in the real world. It could happen to anyone; be it one of your family members, your close friends or relatives and may be your close colleagues.
Stigmatization must be have been placed within a context of unequal power, to allow the powerful groups such as institutions to communicate in large audiences, expand influences to well known prospects and enforce practical consequences of stigma. To achieve the effects of stigmatization, the imbalance power that these institutions continue to practice allows one of them to enact a significant of societal consequence over another by carrying the stigmatized label. As this imbalance power continue to grow stronger along with the absence of empathy, the selected institution who carries the stigmatized label expand the horizon by enforcing the label to others, targeting to those who are close to them.
For those who conceive this power by recycled the philosophical dialects in each advocacy they made in their hope will lead to social change, will disregard the role of people who seek to resist and change the status quo. We can advocate further endlessly and tirelessly on mental illnesses and its implications, yet it is important to realise that advocacy alone may not be the most effective tool of activism without applying to what we will then have to apply according of what we preached in reality.
While these advocates focuses too much on trying to achieve an illusion vision for a better world, in reality, they have forgotten the vital importance to offer a strong support system for those who suffered such stigma that has spread wildly like an infectious and incurable disease. If there is any hope for the world at all, it does not live in rooms full of debates, forums, discourses, conferences and symposiums. As I see it, the same old way may not work anymore. In conclusion, the conventional mental health care can be a significant point of tension within the mental health movements. The process of understanding critically and analytically on the mental health movements and its traditional approaches may be a tip of the iceberg to reduce stigma that govern the lives of individuals.