August 19, 2019
Tips to overcome mental health stigma
Millions of Americans are affected by mental health disorders every year, and according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), 1 in 5 adults in the U.S., or 43.8 million people struggle with a mental illness in a given year. Despite the illness, people struggling with a mental health disorder also have to deal with the stigma.
Stigma can be dual in nature including social stigma, characterized by prejudicial attitudes and discriminating behavior. The other type is perceived stigma in which an individual with a mental health problem internalizes their perceptions of discrimination, feeling guilt, shame, and living in denial, which lead to poor treatment outcomes. Therefore, it is indispensable that awareness about mental health disorders is spread so that any form of stigma can be reduced promoting acceptance .
Some of the steps that can be taken to deal with the stigma are:
- Talking openly about mental health: Considering the fact that more than 21 percent of the American population is afflicted by serious mental health disorders, it is important that the society becomes more accepting of them. This can be done by spreading awareness about how extensively mental health disorders are prevalent in our society and how we as individuals and as a community can come together and reach out to those who need support.
- Educating yourself and others: People with mental illnesses can have jobs, families, and live well. It is, therefore, important to educate one another about the dynamics of mental illnesses to prevent the dissemination of stigma and discrimination. Knowledge is power and by being more aware, one can be in a better position to help the distressed.
- Encouraging equality between physical and mental illnesses: People should remember that mental illnesses are no different from physical illnesses and just like diabetes, heart disease, or cancer, mental illness can be equally debilitating. Further, like physical illnesses, mental disorders also respond well to treatments and it is possible to completely recover.
- Showing compassion for those with a mental illness: People struggling with mental health disorders are ignored, disrespected, and oftentimes labelled. However, suffering from a mental disorder is not their choice and they should be treated with empathy and compassion without being called names. Millions of homeless people on the streets are struggling with mental health conditions, and by being a little kind to them and just smiling at them, one can make their day.
- Being honest about treatment: If an individual is seeking mental health treatment then there is no harm in admitting it. People are comfortable talking about their appointments with primary care physicians for their physical illness. Then why do they feel guilty or shameful talking about mental health concerns? One should not feel ashamed of accepting that they are undergoing treatment for a mental health issue.
- Not harboring self-stigma: It is important not to harbor self-stigma by being an active member of the community. One should talk about their mental illness and volunteer at places where there are people struggling with similar issues. One should spread the word that mental health treatment is available. It works, and recovery is possible.
Seeking treatment for mental health
Mental health problems are real and agonizing, and they can get as overwhelming as a physical ailment. However, these can be managed by treatment and one can aim for long-term recovery. But for this, one needs to seek professional help.
If you or someone you know is showing symptoms of a mental health disorder, it is advisable to seek help from the Invictus Health Group. A leading network with partners in the mental health industry, we can assist you with relevant information about inpatient mental health treatment centers. Call our 24/7 helpline (866) 548-0190 to find the best residential mental health facilities. You can also chat online with a representative for further assistance.