Big Pharma contributes to mental health stigma in its attempts to sell psychiatric drugs. Big Pharma’s message is that people with depression need anti-depressives like diabetics need insulin and talk about chemical imbalance in the brain. They appear to be taking the blame away from person, but they are not. We eat this up and agree and repeat it thinking we are being politically correct. We think this helps people with mental illness feel less stigmatized. But it helps Big Pharma sell its message, and sell their medications.
The truth is we are never balanced, our hormones are changing constantly, up and down with our hourly experiences and daily happenings. Our hormones respond to our mood and our mood responds to our hormones. Hormonal change is normal functioning.
Big Pharma’s Stigma Inducing Message
I am not saying that Big Pharma’s medications are bad–they save and relieve millions of people. I just have a problem with saying consumers “need” medication to live well.
When deciding about medication, it important to look at the risks and benefits. “Needing” the medication is what makes people lose touch with their personal agency. And what ultimately has them feeling so different, weak, and defeated. This is the stigma that Big Pharma wants to continue so consumers continue buying psychiatric medication. However, if they felt like they had the power to choose medicines because those medicines benefited their progress toward their goal, or if they felt like they could choose not to take medicine and try something different, mental illness would be experienced differently.
And we can finally do something to stop the stigma that plagues us.
Big Pharma’s Message Contributes to Stigma
Big Pharma’s message is that taking a pill with be a quick fix, and that a given diagnosis means they need it. This makes people think they are inherently flawed and contributes to the stigma that people who experience mental health problems feel more than any other cultural discourse.
You Have Options, Not a “Need” for Any Certain Treatment
But for full healing, it is important to work on our problems, too. To face them and get over them with therapy, church, alternative practitioners, self-help groups, on retreats, by reading books, or sharing with our closest friends–while taking or choosing not to take the medicine Big Pharma’s message pushes.
People with mental illness want to know that they can improve, that their lives can improve, and that they themselves can do something about it. Families and communities want to feel helpful, instead of afraid and useless. Big Pharma’s message is one of powerlessness and desperation.
With a good practitioner, this can work wonders on a person’s mental health and wellbeing. This can eliminate the stigma via a different route. Talking about mental illness and clarifying what it is and is not will help. Let’s keep the discussion going.
What do you think the biggest contributor of mental health stigma? Comment below.