Despite the massive strides in understanding and awareness over the past few years, stigma in mental health persists. Nearly everyone with mental illness has been blamed for their condition at some point or another during their life. Whether it’s from a colleague, boss, friend, family member, or stranger, mental health stigma hurts. Overcoming shame is a painful but vital part of mental health recovery.
It may seem like there’s nothing you can do to combat such a prevalent problem, but there are some ways to speak out against mental health stigma. So, how can you help break the stigma in mental health?
Have Open Conversations About Mental Health
One of the best things you can do to break the stigma in mental health is to have open conversations about it. The more people talk about mental health, the less “taboo” the topic becomes. Don’t be ashamed to talk about it with friends, family, and even acquaintances or colleagues. Open conversations assist in overcoming shame.
Never Stop Learning
No matter how much you know, there is always more to learn about mental health. Understanding is the best defense against stigma. That means educating yourself is a helpful way to reduce stigma in mental health. Share the things you learn with people you know to help them gain more understanding about mental health, too.
Think Before You Speak
Sometimes it’s tough to think before you speak, but a little bit of mindfulness goes a long way. Words can be harmful and thoughtless speech can do more to perpetuate stigma than you realize. Using mental health conditions as adjectives or carelessly tossing around diagnoses like ADHD or OCD can make it harder for people with these conditions to receive the help they need.
Recognize that Mental Illness Isn’t Always Visible
Mental illness differs from physical illness because the signs aren’t always visible. Not everyone shows outward symptoms of their mental illness, and expecting someone to do so keeps the stigma alive. Understand that while you may not see the signs of mental illness, that doesn’t make the conditions any less real.
The easiest way to break the stigma in mental health and assist people in overcoming shame is to show compassion. Being kind and compassionate to people who need help takes nothing from your day, yet it does more than you could imagine. It starts with simply believing people when they share their stories and expands from there.
Look Up Treatment Programs
Learning about treatment programs is another great way to break the stigma in mental health. The more you know about treatment programs, the better you can assist people in need of mental health services. Find out about local facilities and programs near you and learn about the services they offer.
Programs like those at Pasadena Villa are equipped to work with people living with mental illness who need some additional help. Our individualized mental health treatment programs enable individuals to achieve sustained recovery and live independent lives. If you’d like to learn more about the services Pasadena Villa offers, reach out to us at 407-574-5190 or submit an online contact form.