There are negative ideas and attitudes around mental illness and poor mental health. This is known as stigma. There are lots of causes of stigma, but there are also things that can be done in order to reduce the amount of stigma surrounding mental illness.
Some people may be more hesitant o go to therapy for their mental health issues because of the stigma that surrounds mental illness. However, nowadays it is easy to find a therapist online at BetterHelp. Online therapy can be more comfortable for some people because they can speak with a counselor from the comfort of their own homes.
What Causes Stigma?
Mass media and entertainment are some of the main causes of stigma. Villains in movies often have mental illness and when there is a criminal on the news, it is common for them to be stereotyped as crazy.
Furthermore, people often treat mental illness as something that can be overcome with strength or that those who suffer from mental health issues are weak minded. In addition, the lack of public and community education on the topic of mental health can also be problematic. In fact, most of the stigma probably stems from misinformation or a lack of education on the topic in the past.
Social stigma is the stigma that related to the prejudiced attitude that people have towards mental health issues. Self-perceived stigma is the internal stigma that a person who suffers from mental health issues has. Even as more and more people know about mental health issues, stigma around mental illness is still common. Even though people understand mental illness in a better way, they may still stereotype people who suffer from mental illness.
Effect of Stigma
Stigma can have some detrimental consequences because it can lead to decreased understanding. It can also direct fear and intolerance towards people who suffer from mental health problems.
People who are victims of stigma may be more hesitant to seek out treatment from a mental health professional. This can cause their mental health issues to worsen. They may even isolate themselves to avoid judgment.
A person who suffers from mental illness may also find that their friends, family, and community do not understand what they are going through. They may even find that they are harassed because of their mental health condition.
Stigma may also cause someone feelings of shame and low self-esteem. These can contribute to worsened mental health as well. This can even make it more difficult for someone to seek out a job.
How to Fight Stigma Surrounding Mental Illness
One thing that is important to remember is that you are not alone. Mental health issues are common and one in five Americans has some sort of mental illness. There are also tons of places where you can find support.
One of the most important things that you can do to combat the stigma that surrounds mental illness is to speak out and educate others about mental health. You can tell your friends and family members the symptoms ranging from mild to severe. You can also provide statistics about how common mental illness is. You can also strive to debunk myths surrounding mental health issues. For example, you can provide evidence that people with mental health issues are not usually violent.
It is also important to seek the help that you need. Therapy can effectively improve your mental health and avoiding therapy can form a negative cycle. This can cause your mental health to worsen over time.
It is very important that you do not isolate yourself. It may be hard to tell people about what you are going through. You may feel like others will judge you or will not understand what you are going through. However, your loved ones will probably be supportive and want to help you anyway that they can. Reach out for the support that you need from your friends, family, and community. You can also find support groups full of people that have had similar experiences or who suffer from similar problems that you do.
Final Thoughts on Mental Health Stigma
Stigma often arises from a misunderstanding or lack of information about mental health and mental illness. As the fields of psychiatry and psychology advance, the stigma should slowly recede. However, it still has a long way to go. You can do your part to fight against the stigma surrounding mental illness by educating yourself and spreading that education to others.
If you hear someone say something inaccurate or judgmental, do not hesitate to correct them in a nice way. You can also seek the help of mental health professional and tell your friends and family about the progress that you make. All of these things may seem small, but if everyone starts talking about mental illness and more information and resources become available, then the hope is that the stigma will decrease with time.
Marie Miguel Biography
Marie Miguel has been a writing and research expert for nearly a decade, covering a variety of health-related topics. Currently, she is contributing to the expansion and growth of a free online mental health resource with BetterHelp.com. With an interest and dedication to addressing stigmas associated with mental health, she continues to specifically target subjects related to anxiety and depression.