7 Things You Can Do To Fight Mental Health Stigma

It is normal to seek help when you fall or get hurt because you want to feel better. Many people are hesitant to seek help when they are struggling with inner pain, loneliness, depression, anxiety, isolation, and hopelessness or when they feel they are being judged by others because of a mental illness. 

Unfortunately, this applies to many people with mental disorders such as anxiety, PTSD, depression, bipolar disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, or schizophrenia. There are many reasons why people remain silent about their feelings and do not seek help. A few examples: 

  • When people worry about what other people will think 
  • or worry that they are judged as mentally ill 
  • or struggle with useless thoughts like “seeking help is a weakness”. 
  • Perhaps people feel that asking for help is an indication that they have a problem.

The messages people receive from other people, the media, their culture, society, and themselves often cause a lot of anxiety and anxiety and can prevent them from recovering and seeking help.

Criticism of others almost always stems from a lack of knowledge and understanding. Accepting their condition and understanding the steps they need to take to treat it can help those trying to overcome the damaging effects of stigma in their life. 

In fact, the stigma of mental illness is a reality. There are negative attitudes and beliefs about people with mental illness. This may cause some people to treat others differently simply because of a mental illness. The terrible truth of stigma is that stigma has detrimental (sometimes long-term) consequences for people with mental illness as well as those who support them and those close to them. Stigma or fear of stigma can prevent someone from seeking help and treatment for a mental illness. It can also prevent family and friends from understanding what the person is going through, it can disrupt relationships, and it can make it difficult for people to find and keep a job.

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Here are 7 ways to deal with your mental health stigma so you can focus on what matters most: yourself, your health, and your loved ones. 

Get treatment 

First of all, the most important thing you can do is to heal your condition or encourage people to fight for it. Don't let your fears of diagnosing a mental illness prevent you or a loved one from getting help, just like you need treatment if you break or hurt your leg. Treatment is important to relieve and reduce symptoms that interfere with your work and personal life. When you or your loved ones are being treated, remember to be kind and gentle with yourself and them. Asking for help is not easy. It takes a lot of courage to have a voice, and it's worth the effort for you (and your loved ones).

Don't be fooled by the stigma

Mental illness may seem like a sign of weakness, and you or someone who is struggling should be able to cope with a mental illness without help. Because of this perception, you may be rude to yourself or others. Seeking advice, education, kindness to yourself and others, and support from others with mental illness can help you gain positive self-esteem, perspective and overcome destructive judgments. Education can also help you to accept the area you are struggling with, knowing that you are not alone. It is necessary to seek help. 

Educate yourself and others 

Knowledge is power. Learn (from authoritative sources) about mental illness, symptoms, and treatment. Getting information is the first step to getting the right treatment for your emotional well-being. 

Also, explain to others that mental illness is a physical disorder that can be treated like any other medical condition. Arm yourself with factual information to displace most rumors or inaccuracies related to mental illness. 

You (or those close to you) can also talk openly about illness and everyday problems with supportive people. Talking to your supporters about the healing process helps people understand the problems others face. When people truly understand what mental illness is, they are more likely to give up negative views. Don't expect people to understand immediately. Overcoming stigma takes time. Be gentle with yourself and others along the way. Family therapy can also be helpful and can be a neutral place to discuss obstacles.

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Choose your words carefully 

Instead of saying "I am bipolar," you can say "I have bipolar disorder", "I suffer from a mental illness" or "I have been diagnosed with PTSD" or "My brother is suffering from depression." This will help isolate the person from the disease. You are not your illness. We all have different sides. When diagnosed, mental illness is only a part of that person and we are not defined as just one aspect of ourselves. Being kind to yourself can be difficult. This can be done with treatment and a support circle. Words can cut deeper than a sword. Kindness and compassion are the keys to healing. 

Join a support group 

Don't isolate yourself. If people don't tell anyone about their struggle with mental illness, no one can help them. There are many local and national support groups that provide programs and resources. Additionally, the group works hard to educate people with mental illness, their families, supporters, and communities to reduce stigma and help them move toward empowerment and recovery. The National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI) or the Department of Veterans Affairs (if applicable) are good places to start and both are reputable resources. Check with your county to see what programs are available. There are often online groups and online resources for people with mental illness.

Choose empowerment over shame 

When you're struggling, honor and acknowledge your story and don't allow others to change your mind. Encourage those who seek support and honor and encourage their stories and struggles. Be honest with the people around you. Show them who you really are by sharing your strengths, talents, and goals. Encourage those who are struggling to do the same. Remember that the way you act and treat others can help influence how people feel about you and about mental illness in general. In this process, be kind to yourself and others. Acceptance is difficult and takes time. 

Speak out against stigma 

Whether it's with a group of friends or in front of a large audience, express your opinions firmly and confidently. Respectfully educate others about mental illness to encourage change. Remind people that they would not make fun of someone with heart disease, diabetes or cancer. Making fun of someone with a mental illness is harmful and only increases stigma and encourages discrimination. Speaking up will not only educate the public and help reduce stigma, but it could also encourage and help others facing a similar challenge to seek help. Remember that self-care is vital during this process. You're not alone; You don't have to fight every battle. Get help and remember: Self-compassion and self-care is a gift that we all need to open daily.