May is Mental Health Awareness Month – Let’s Stop the Stigma

May is Mental Health Awareness Month – Let’s Stop the Stigma

Author: Racheal Mosimann

The stigma surrounding mental health is detrimental. Every day, there are people who do not receive proper treatment for their illness due to the worry they may be treated differently or judged.  Not only does it contribute to lack of treatment for those who need it, but it can increase mental health symptoms. Because of the stigma, those who struggle might find themselves feeling alone, overwhelmed and unable to reach out for support.

Why is there stigma attached to mental health? One of the most common reasons for the stigma around mental health is lack of understanding and education. There is an unlimited amount of misinformation that cycles through about mental health in society. Family, social, and cultural beliefs can also contribute to the stigma that surrounds mental health. Although it is widespread, there are ways that we as individuals can battle the stigma against mental health.

Some ideas include-

  1. Become educated and educate others

Being educated can help you and your family to be able to identify resources, symptoms, and individual needs. Knowing is the first step in anything. This alone could potentially save someone’s life.

  • Be mindful of your words-

You are not your mental illness, you have a mental illness. When talking to others, think about the words you use. Instead of saying, “I was so embarrassed, I could have just died,” rephrase to “I was so embarrassed that I wanted to leave.” What you say to both yourself and others matters.

  • Speak up-

If something is not right, reach out to a mental health professional for support. You know yourself best. If you notice something is different with someone you love, say something. It may be what they need. If someone is contributing to the stigma that surrounds mental health, speak up. You are able to advocate for yourself and those you love.

  • Show compassion-

No one asks to struggle with mental health concerns. Learn to show both yourself and others compassion. Everyone experiences mental health differently. It’s okay to not be okay.

  • Be empowered, not embarrassed-

Allowing yourself to live your best life despite your struggles reduces the stigma not only within yourself, but within the community around you. It is empowering to be in control of your life and live it the way you want no matter the barriers. Too, it is empowering for others to see that it is possible.

Mental health is not a bad word. It is something that should be talked about often and openly. If you feel you are struggling with your mental health, please reach out to:

Valeo Behavioral Health Care- (785)233-1730