Stigma is one of the biggest barriers to seeking mental health care.Let’s break the stigma and discrimination against mental illness. Many affected by mental health conditions are ashamed because of associated stigma. This can make them feel as if they have lost control of their lives, limits them from seeking proper help and may even leadto committing suicide.Collectively, let us be brave, strong and persistent to face mental illness and fight stigma. Know that mental illness is a disease and not anybody’s fault. You can be part of the change by being and living stigma-free, no matter what societal stigma says.
Stop the stigma by:
Talking openly about mental health conditions like depression, anxiety, addiction, bipolar disorder, PTSD, schizophrenia on social platforms. It is worth helping even one person who needed to hear you speak out against mental health stigma.
Educatingyourself and others by utilizing each opportunity to educate people and share stories and struggles associated with mental illness. Politely intervene when people make rude and sarcastic remarks about mental health and use such scenarios as an opportunity to kindly express your feelings, and educate on the need to stop the stigma.
Be mindful oflanguage and remind others that their language matters. The focus is on using respectful language. Language may be used to drive stigma, and adapting the way we talk about mental health, like using people-first language, may help decrease negative attitudes.
Encourage equality between physical and mental illness.Linking our mental and physicalhealth problems should not be surprising. Unfortunately, the separation between the two is perpetuated by our society, which tends to divide treatment between the brain and the body. People need to know that our mental health can shape our physical wellness, and vice versa.
Be compassionate to those with mental illness. Spend time with the homeless and mentally ill individuals, show them that you care; listen to them, hug them, bring them the awareness of available resources, restore hope and healing in them.Model compassion for others publicly; these simply acts contribute to them feeling inclusive. We should not forget that those suffering are equally humans.
Choose empowerment over shame by encouraging yourself or others to live an empowered life. Ownyour life and be proud of your story. Deny to allow others to dictate how you should view or feel about yourself. Everyone has a story and deserves to be heard.
Be honest about mental health.The best aspect about being open and honest about mental health is being able to assist others through tough times, and being able to smile and laugh together during good times. Mental health does not define you as a person, but being honest about how you feel may open up new doors for you. Talk about your mental health provider without fear of being judged.
Speak out when the media is stigmatizing.When you notice negative and stigmatizing language about mental health in the media, contact the broadcasting company, TV station or journalist to let them know. Point out the language you felt was stigmatizing and politely explain the dangers associated with using this type of language. You may suggest other language they can use instead.
Don’t nurture Self-Stigmatization.Self-stigmatization can manifest in self-blame.
Some people battling with mental illnesses may have internalized shame, embarrassment, or harmful ideas surrounding mental health. Fight the stigma of by not having a stigma for yourself. Lead by example, show your value, and let others know that your disease does not define you.