The words prejudice and discrimination place the spotlight back onto the person responsible. The shame is on them, as is the burden of responsibility for putting things right. These words make us reflect on our own behaviour and step up to the challenge of learning, understanding and changing for the better.
The upside of depression is it can give you an opportunity to have a heightened awareness of another' s suffering, whether it is feeling alone, uncared for, unloved or unsafe. You can now fully appreciate the importance of providing understanding and support. Sharing your time and your compassion can make a difference.
In a society that is suspicious of depression as a medical condition, psychoactive substances, and antidepressants in particular, it is not surprising that the legitimacy of antidepressants is widely questioned. Being on antidepressants is frequently considered some kind of moral failing, and a barely legitimate practice in many quarters.
Mental health campaigner and OBE recipient Ruby Wax recently told The Times: "When people say, 'Should you tell them at work?', I say: 'Are you crazy?' You have to lie. If you have someone who is physically ill, they can't fire you. They can't fire you for mental health problems but they'll say it's for another reason. Just say you have emphysema."
The minds of the Irish people have become inflamed by fiery debate on the issue of Marriage Equality. In two weeks, our country takes to the polls to vote on Marriage Equality, and should it pass, could make not only Irish history, but world history, by being the first country to legally enact it by popular vote.
Women and girls face discrimination due to gender, potential disabilities and stigma - a triple jeopardy. According to UNDP, girls and women affected by leprosy make up some of the world's poorest and most marginalised groups, disproportionately affected by poverty, illiteracy and lack of education which act as barriers to seeking health treatment. Women and girls with leprosy and those affected by other neglected tropical diseases have the right to health care and the barriers to that stop this must be addressed.
Since stigma is still an issue even in today's society, we should be teaching ALL children to understand a range of emotions including mental illness from a young age. Being aware that feeling sad or low or anxious is nothing to feel ashamed of could help young people to open up, and prevent them developing into something more serious in later years.