Little knowledge is dangerous. No knowledge is destructive.
We always complain about how people don’t know enough about mental illnesses and mental health. The problem is that many people who do so do nothing to tell people about it.
A lot of the stigma attached to this issue is because people don’t know enough, and they don’t have anyone to tell them. If you look for a book to understand mental health, you wont find it. Most of them will focus on individual cases of a mental illness. Some will talk about how lives change after a fight with clinical depression. Others will be self-help books which tell you how to live your life and stay mentally healthy.
Yet, no book tells you what mental health is. No book tells you the long history of mental health care in India and the rest of the world. Hardly any book discusses how the stigma of mental illnesses work and even fewer (if any) tell you about the true impact of ignoring this epidemic.
You can find a book which tells you what depression feels like but not what it is. How do we expect people to have knowledge if they have no means to get it from.
No knowledge is destructive because it keeps the people who need help from seeking it. Why would someone who has schizophrenia visit the doctor if he/she is convinced that it is a demonic possession which haunts them and not a mental illness.
Knowledge is power. The problem is that there are no means to empower people when it comes to mental health. It is at best a sub-theme in fiction books, a topic for memoirs or biographies or something to be talked about in a hush-hush manner.
It is time we put an end to this vacuum of knowledge. It is time we put an end to the destructive nature of ignorance.