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Get Rid of the Stigma!

  • There are many stigmas that surround mental health and individuals with mental health, especially today. It’s common for people to not want to understand things, and most people tend to admit that they’re afraid of things that they don’t understand. According to the American Psychiatric Association, more than half of people with a mental illness do not receive help for their disorders. Many people don’t seek treatment or prolong starting the process of treatment because they have concerns about being looked at differently and having the normality of their lives flipped upside down. The stigma around mental illness can be an issue and a barrier in different cultures, especially in African American communities, because of distrust in the healthcare system and shame from others.

  • According to the American Psychiatric Association, researchers have identified 3 different types of stigma; public (negative/discriminatory attitudes and feelings towards others with mental illnesses), self (negative attitudes and shame that people have about themselves), and institutional (policies of government and organizations that consciously and unconsciously limit opportunities for people with mental illnesses).

  • Some effects of stigma and discrimination can include; a reduced sense of hope, lower self esteem, and difficulties creating and maintaining social relationships with others. More harmful effects can also include; hesitancy to get help or treatment and stay consistent with said treatment, isolation, and even harassment and bullying. Facing stigma in the workplace can be very difficult and harmful to us. It’s important to note that if you have depression, PTSD, or another mental health condition, you’re protected against discrimination and harassment at work because of your condition. You may also have a legal right to get accommodations for your line of work, but it’s important to research and educate ourselves about things like this. The U.S Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has more information about mental health and your rights in the workplace.

  • You may be wondering how we can do our part in addressing and getting rid of the stigma surrounding mental health. Some things we can do include talking openly about mental health, educating ourselves and others with actual facts, being aware of the language that we use when having mental health conversations, and choosing empowerment over shame. Owning who you are and your life will stop allowing people control over your life and how you feel about yourself.

  • In order to begin getting rid of certain stigma surrounding mental health, it’s important to start by being honest with yourself about what you may or may not know about yourself and others. This process may prove to be difficult, and I want you to know that I am here to hold you accountable on this journey. This can be a difficult one for many, but consulting with me can help you begin ending the stigma around mental health, for you and for others around you.

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