Mental disorders are a common and widespread problem across the world. Globally, the burden created by neuropsychiatric disorders is 13%. In fact, insufficient attention has been paid to the solution of the issue concerning mental health. It is the reason why there are millions of individuals in different parts of the world who are affected by mental disorders. The problem may arise during a person’s life, while others acquire it in their childhood. Social situations, environmental factors, and biological reasons place people at a greater risk of being affected by this health problem. Research has it that depression is the leading mental health disorder that affects a large percentage of people. The majority of victims are people from low- or middle-income and are between 15 and 44 years of age. Nevertheless, the issue lies in the barriers that mentally ill individuals face in the society. Stigma is the leading cause of deteriorating conditions in people suffering from various mental disorders. The media has been in the front line promoting wrong ideas and news regarding mental disorders by depicting the affected individuals as violent, dangerous and incapable of living a normal life. It has made the public have a distorted understanding of mental illness. Many people with mental illness are doomed to suffer from societal barriers such as lack of employment opportunity, social exclusion, deficient health care services, homelessness, and lack of support of family and friends. Mental disorders influence one’s ability to live a normal life by impairing their capacity to have friendly relationships with people, handle various daily tasks, and cope with real-life issues properly which is analyzed below.
Mental disorders are caused by organic malfunctioning and at other times due to personality conflicts as a result of childhood experience. Some examples of the condition include schizophrenia, which makes a person lose their ability to have contact with reality. Moreover, neuroses cause a person to become over-reactive to reality. Thereafter, anxiety, depression, identity disorder, suicide, psychotic disorder, eating disorder, and bipolar are all grouped on mental illnesses. The majority of people with mental illness experience delusional and emotional instability and mood swings. Consequently, all these symptoms make it hard to socialize or understand each other which might cause miscommunication and misconceptions.
Social Exclusion Related to Mental Health
Research has it that those people, who are mentally ill, especially from low-income nations or families, are prone to social exclusion. The reason is that they are considered strange, violent or dangerous individuals making people ashamed that they are connected with them. Apparently, social exclusion leads to the greatest rate of psychological distress among people with mental disorder. It means that poor social connections can worsen the condition or symptoms among these individuals. Unfortunately, it becomes the point marking the downward trend of poor health, which may worsen the situation relating to people with mental disorders. The severity of their condition might have been caused by social impairment, leading to high level of stress and depression. Social exclusion also makes the individual suffer alone, and this puts a burden on them because they have to take care of themselves. According to Mohiyeddini, the negative aspects of being excluded act as psychological stressors, which cause biological, cognitive and affective response, which aggravate their condition. It is the reason the majority of the people with severe mental disorders become violent and dangerous to the society; however, this argument has been marginalized by the media.
Some studies have found that most people with severe mental illness are not able to have proper relationships that would lead to marriage. For instance, a person suffering from severe bipolar disorder is always delusional, talking alone and having mood swings caused by psychological problems. It means that they are not able to cope with issues emerging during love affairs and, thus, leave a lonely life.
Unemployment Related to Mental Health
There is discrimination in the job sector with disabled and mentally ill individuals being the victims. The majority of people with mental disorder always find it almost impossible to acquire a position in any industry, regardless of their education level. The reason is that mental health problems put these individuals at a disadvantaged position of not being able to perform their work as expected. Those who are lucky enough to acquire a position to work in any company always find themselves lagging behind due to unexpected episodes of the disease attack. In this case, they are required to seek help instead of remaining at work. The number of times that they miss work can cause the employer who is not tolerant to dismiss them from their job. Research has it that these individuals lose about 40% of their working days due to sickness. During these periods, they are not capable of performing as expected and can even be dangerous to the staff members in case the condition becomes severe.
Mental illness can cause an individual to have a poor memory, lack attention, appear fatigued, and have impaired concentration. In fact, these underlying symptoms make it hard to work as per the organizational requirement. Individuals working in a place where they are expected to have to frequently contact with people or in a place with high status can have barriers concentrating if they have any of the disease symptoms. On the other hand, they can be less productive which most employers do not accept. While this may affect individuals suffering from mental health, it also leads to loss of money for an organization, which makes employers biased against people with mental disorders.
Financial Strain Related to Mental Health
When a mentally ill individual cannot sustain their job due to occasional symptoms and effects of their condition, they begin to experience a financial crisis. It may worsen their situation, causing them to develop other conditions such as stress or depression. According to Clark, stress influences the behavioral coping response of individuals with a mental disorder. As a result, they may develop conditions such as lack of sleep, use of alcohol or development of misconceptions. The reason is that their physiological and psychological systems will be activated by their current situation, causing their nervous system to lose control.
A recent study shows that there is extreme discrimination within the Medicaid and Medicare laws. In fact, this has led to the reduction in number of patients applying for admission to psychiatric hospitals in various states. It has left many of the most vulnerable individuals and the sickest ones with no place to appeal. The main reason is the high costs charged in the mental institutions. The lack of funds provided to the psychiatric hospitals has also led to them neglecting many people on a yearly basis. In the end, the country has to pay huge costs for failing to take care more of 10 million people in the nation who are suffering from severe mental illness.
Homelessness Related to Mental Health
Research has it that the majority of homeless people are suffering from mental health problems such as bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and post-traumatic stress disorder. About 45% people in the street who are homeless have mental problems compared to 25% that find themselves homeless due to several factors. However, the study that was conducted revealed that many of these mentally ill individuals have problems with drugs addiction. In such a case, when they try to get help, the physicians make dual diagnosis. It becomes hard for them to receive support from the mental institutions because there is none that is willing to handle two issues at the same time.
According to Szabo, the Medicare law has limited the days in which patients with mental illness receive psychiatric care. However, denying these individuals help leaves them vulnerable, especially with their financial constraints and social exclusion. Thereafter, they are left with no option but to resort to street life where they can freely live. Szabo believes that the government’s disregard of mental illness shows that they are trying to show that patients do not deserve to live decently like ordinary people with physical health problems.
On the other hand, some find themselves on the street because they were abandoned by their families. In low-income or developing nations, mental illness is considered witchcraft or a curse. Thus, the beliefs prevent many people from accessing help or treatment. The family members also do little to seek help for their loved ones due to high financial demands. Lastly, there are those that require special housing taking into account the severity of their condition. Consequently, those who are in need of supported housing and cannot find it always resort to street life.
In conclusion, mental disorders influence one’s ability to live a normal life by impairing their capacity to socialize well with people, perform various daily tasks, and handle day-to-day issues in a proper way. It is the reason many have a hard time acquiring job position, face exclusion from the family, are homeless, and have financial problems. In fact, all these consequences are caused by lack of proper health services, worsening their condition or making it more severe. Psychosocial interventions have been found to help improve the conditions of mentally ill people, and this should be encouraged by the government. It is also important to strengthen the health care systems for them to improve the way in which they deliver care for mentally ill individuals. Mental health budget should be set by the government to allocate resources that would advance activities and programs offered by mental institutions.