Hey guys! So today I wanted to talk about the stigma surrounding mental health, its controversy and the importance of us turning that stigma around.
One thing that has been plaguing me since writing my last #MHM post is, if mental health can basically affect anyone… why is there such an unspoken, dangerous stigma around it. I want to talk about the stigma itself… and the way the stigma affects people who have got existing or who have had a mental health issue.
So for starters, this stigma has been around since the beginning of the ages, it used to be believed that people were possessed by evil spirits when in fact they were just mentally unwell. This in itself, tells us that mental health was originally related to something negative and so the beginning of a damaging stigma. From evil spirits to ‘mad houses’ and ‘insane asylums’ where patients were used as guinea pigs by nurses and doctors, using some gruesome techniques, gave immediate rise to people with mental health issues being treated notably differently by society.
This stigma affects society, in how people with mental disorders are perceived and treated. From small things such as people not being as welcoming in a social situation to people being denied employment opportunities and even housing opportunities for having a mental illness. Which is frankly disgusting. Being discriminated further for something that they can’t help, is dangerous because it will make them feel worse about their issue, making them less likely to want to talk about their issue to someone, or even seek help.
I think some ways to combat this mental health stigma would be to:
- talk openly about mental health to people, it is nothing to be ashamed of. This is something I’ll be doing in my next post- a post about my story with mental health.
- Educate others and yourself about mental health in everyday, share your story encourage other people to share their stories in a hopeful way!
- (one of my future posts) stop using mental disorders as adjectives, so that when you do use them people know you are being serious.
- shut down any jokes that are negatively based around mental health.
How to cope with the stigma if it is affecting you:
- don’t let anyone make you feel like you can’t ask for help, go and get treatment
- don’t isolate yourself, go get out there and try and reach out to people – family, friends.
- you are not your illness. You are your own person, stop saying ‘I’m depressed’ rather ‘I have depression’. You are not your illness.
- speak out against the stigma – I have done this and it is honestly such an empowering thing
Have you ever found yourself or anyone you know being affected by the stigma around mental health?