The Importance Of Environment In Mental Illness - Psychology - Essay

1209 words - 5 pages

The Importance of Environment in Mental Illness
One in every four people experience mental health issues yet there is still a large
stigma around the issue, when in fact it could happen to anyone. A major false
perceptions of mental health is that a person is born with it or is predisposed due to
family history. Although this is true in some cases, mental health predominantly occurs
because of one's experiences throughout their life. They often stem from one’s youth
and without the proper treatment can become worse and worse overtime, much like a
physical illness. Over the past century the way we as a society deal with mental
disorders has drastically changed for the better. Psychologists and mental health
experts have been an immense reason as to why there is so much more available
knowledge and why the stigma has decreased.The development of mental illnesses is
due to one’s experiences: the main contributors are a child’s home environment,
substance abuse, as well as social and cultural expectation.
Nature vs Nurture has been one of the biggest debates between psychologists,
and is the question of whether one’s biology or environment is more important in who
we become. Almost everything that has to do with one's behaviour can be linked to the
nature vs nurture question and is very critical in determining what links us to these
important topics our society is facing. Mental illness has had a bad reputation for a very
long time, and there has been radical changes in how it is treated. Historically, mental
illness has had a social stigma because it was believed that a mentally ill family member
implied a “hereditary, disabling condition in the bloodline” (History cooperative, 2015).
Due to this stigma, many people who suffered from these conditions were forced to live
on the streets, put in jail or asylums and were abused by caretakers untrained in the
treatment of mental disorders. In today's western society there are countless more
resources and much less of a social stigma, this is because overall our culture is more
accepting and it is more well known that mental illnesses are due to experiences and
not something a person can control.
A child's home environment from birth until they are fully developed is perhaps
the most crucial factor in who a person becomes. This is demonstrated by the research
that shows that negative family relationships can cause stress and heavily impact
mental health. An individual who grows up in a abusive environment will often develop
depression, post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), or anxiety and will depend on a
life-long need for professional help (Peters, 2016). In a study done by Harvard
University where a group of people who had suffered three or more types of child
maltreatment, such as physical abuse, neglect and verbal abuse, fifty-three percent
were shown to have suffered depression and forty-three percent for PTSD (Szalavitz,
2012). Chronic stress is another derivative of living in a negative h...

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