Mental health is oftentimes something that gets put on the back burner for many people. When we have a sore throat, we go to the doctor. When we feel a sinus infection coming on, we see a doctor. But why is it when we feel mentally drained, we do not see a therapist? Throughout time, there has been a negative stigma given to mental health. Portraying the idea that if someone reaches out for help, then they are weak. That is not the case. When an individual becomes cognizant of their mental state and can admit there are things they would like to work on to better themselves – that takes tremendous strength and self-awareness.
Today is World Mental Health Day, a day created in 1992 by the World Federation for Mental Health. This day was established in hopes to raise awareness around mental health issues that can be improved, and also create opportunities for mental health care opportunities worldwide. The stigma around mental health can be very damaging and cause an individual to not seek treatment out of fear of being judged. Here are three ways to help you navigate the stigma around mental health.
- You are not your illness. Often times, people may say “I’m bipolar” but instead, they should say “I have bipolar disorder.” This language may seem small, but it is important. Although it may seem scary and vulnerable, inform those around you about your illness. Don’t isolate yourself from those that care about you, because you are scared to tell them. They may be able to offer you more support than you expect.
- Get treatment. Treatment is created to help you live your everyday life with minimal disruptions from whatever it is you may be struggling with. Meeting with support groups can also be therapeutic. Knowing that you are not alone and connecting with others who share the same experiences can be beneficial.
- Speak up. Sometimes, it can feel scary opening up to people about mental illness. Or maybe you aren’t the one with a mental illness, but you have a family member or friend who does. Advocate for them. If you hear mental illnesses being portrayed in a theatrical and unrealistic manner, speak up! Stigma is created because of individuals being uneducated in certain topics and only hearing negative connotations with mental health.
Mental health does not have to be a topic that people are scared to talk about. By creating an open environment for people to learn without judgment, individuals can become educated on matters that may concern them or someone they know. If you think you could benefit from therapeutic services, please give us a call today at (618) 688-4727 and schedule an appointment with one of our licensed therapists.
For additional resources, Mental Health America provides a free online screening tool: https://screening.mhanational.org/screening-tools