Stigma towards mental health disorders is ever-present in our society today. When it comes to people understanding mental illnesses, many people are misinformed and often not properly educated on the subject. Unfortunately, this means that, due to lack of proper information, there are still many misconceptions about people with mental illnesses that fuel negative stereotypes. These stereotypes ultimately keep many who suffer from mental health disorders from speaking out about their troubles and seeking mental health treatment for their condition.
Stigmas can affect an already delicate mental health
Stigmas can be understood as someone viewing one negatively because they have a mental illness. More often than not, stigmas lead to discrimination, which refers to an adverse pattern of behavior towards someone just because they are suffering from a mental illness. Unfortunately, stigmas not only hamper treatment, they can also lead to other harmful effects such as:
Hesitancy to seek treatment
- Misunderstanding among family and friends
- Bullying and harassment at school or in the workplace
- Feelings of inadequacy
- Feeling of being less capable of succeeding
- Fewer opportunities for work and/or social activities
Stigmatization may be as subtle as a hurtful remark about a family member’s condition or even keeping a more watchful eye on someone just because one thinks that they are unstable. When dealing with stigmas, it’s imperative for patients suffering from mental health disorders to know that they deserve the same compassion and kindness as anyone else.
Coping with stigma
Though stigmas can harm in more ways than one, there needs to be some fruitful ways to manage them. Here are a few steps that individuals can take to better cope with the issues of stigma:
- Not feeling ashamed or having self-doubt: Issues regarding stigma do not just come from others. People with mental illnesses may doubt themselves and view their mental condition as a weakness, which they feel they should be able to control on their own. This belief is far from the truth. Mental health disorders are deep-rooted and complex conditions and beyond one’s own willpower to change.
- Seeking treatment: Mental health disorders require detailed attention and can be most effectively treated through individualized mental health treatment. Treatment can include inpatient treatment, individual therapy sessions, medications, psychiatric visits, and group therapy. Mental health treatment also helps individuals become more educated about their conditions and, in turn, more self-aware of their behavior. This understanding helps people take conscious steps to correct harmful habits and develop better coping skills.
- Joining a mental health support group: Some groups like the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) offer resources such as local programs and online material to help spread awareness and educate those with mental health conditions and their loved ones about problems that those with disorders face on a daily basis.
- Avoiding isolation: One should not be afraid to speak up about their mental illness. Asking for help is sometimes the hardest step to take, but it is needed if one seeks effective treatment for their condition. Those suffering from mental illnesses should speak to family and friends about their condition and possible options of treatment.
- Seeking help through local institutions: Teachers in secondary schools and colleges are required to offer students special options to accommodate their specific needs when they are dealing with a mental health disorder. It is important to let a teacher know about one’s disability and discuss what accommodations one may need.
- Using positive self-talk: Practicing self-compassion is imperative to recovering from mental illnesses. A series of studies have been conducted to investigate the link between self-compassion, happiness, and practicing constructive behaviors. Past studies have shown that people who displayed high levels of self-compassion were less depressed, visited their doctors more frequently, did not blame themselves for having a mental illness, and treated themselves better.
Stigma can hinder recovery
Stigmatization often stems from misconceptions about mental illnesses and shouldn’t be taken personally. Seeking treatment, learning about the mental health condition, and how to most effectively treat the disorder is never an easy path to follow but it is essential when dealing with a mental illness.
If you or a loved one is battling a mental health disorder and is looking for a licensed mental health treatment center, get in touch with Invictus Health Group. Call our 24/7 helpline 866-548-0190 and speak to a member of our admissions team. With the help of just a few questions, they can assess your condition and assist your admission to one of our state-of-the-art partner mental health treatment centers. You can also chat online to a representative for more information on mental health services offered.