Destigmatizing Mental Health Disorders and Services
The stigma surrounding mental illness causes a heavy burden on both the people with mental health conditions and those who love them. When individuals with mental health disorders feel that others view them negatively, it can cause shame and embarrassment. It may even make them feel guilty and believe that their condition is their fault and within their control. These negative feelings can worsen their mental state and prevent them from getting the help they need. It may keep them from opening up to their family and friends about their struggles. And they may end up suffering in silence.
How do we fight the negativity and stigma toward mental illness? Here are a few ways to start:
Seek Out Educational Intervention and Empowerment
The biggest obstacle to mitigating the stigma surrounding mental health disorders and services is the lack of education. When people don’t know enough about something, they may react negatively to the unknown. They may be critical, relying on the limited information they have on the subject, which too often is inaccurate data or biased opinion.
Gaining an insightful and empathetic perspective starts with education. The more people learn about mental health disorders and services, the more they realize that individuals are more than their diagnosis.
Learning for yourself and sharing the different forms of mental health disorders and services is a first step. Turn to credible resources for information on the various treatment programs. Learn to recognize the different warning signs and symptoms and how to approach someone you feel may need help. Educate yourself so that you may share your learnings with others.
Be Cognizant of and Open about your Own Mental Health
Talking openly about your own mental health may empower others to be more vocal about theirs. Mental illness can be isolating because of stigma and discrimination. When people with mental health disorders see that more and more people are willing to understand their own battles, they won’t feel so alone. You may even share your treatment experiences to ease the anxiety in others who may be hesitant to seek a mental health professional’s help.
Champion Mental Health Rights
You don’t have to be in public office or lead an organization to help destigmatize mental health disorders and services. You can be a mental health advocate by spreading awareness and supporting mental health organizations and their services. Volunteer your time or donate to a crisis center. Speak up when you hear someone poke fun or say anything negative about a person’s mental health, even if they think they’re simply being funny. Explain that these subtle jokes and making light of a potentially harmful condition adds to the stigma.
Let’s continue the conversation on the damaging effects of the stigma surrounding mental disorders and services. Please take a look at our services and don’t hesitate to contact us! You can call our 24-hour Crisis Line at 866-837-7521 any time for mental health emergencies.