Culture, mental illness and conflict: Thoughts from Colombia
Mayra Báez Jimeno

Some thoughts…

1. I know very close people with a mental illness and I have noticed this kind of illness is a taboo in Colombia, people don’t like to talk about it, are ashamed of it. Actually there are several institutions and doctors in Colombia working about it, people just simply don’t think or talk about it.

2. In U.S., as I perceive it, conversely it is not a taboo is rather the label for any behavior that differs for what is believed to be “normal”. Take, for example, the Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) a common diagnosis of U.S. children, some of the boy and girls diagnosed with ADHD are not ill they are just different, but rather than adjusting educative system for these kids, society forces them to fit what its “normal”.

My message: there are indeed real mental illness, nevertheless we are supposed to feel anxiety, depression, be obsessive, have traumas, lose our minds for a while, that’s OK, that´s simply human.

Recommended: Mental Health Care during Conflict: The Case of Colombia