We’ve made a lot of progress within the medical community and as a society when it comes to normalizing conversations around and receiving treatment for mental health conditions.
Despite the progress we’ve made, most people who need some form of mental health treatment never actually receive it. This number is suspected to be in the tens of millions, and even higher than we estimate due to how many mental health cases go unreported each year.
Mental disorders and mood disorders are becoming increasingly more common, with more than 1 in 5 adults living with a mental illness, and over 1 in 5 youth experiencing the same according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In this article, we’re going to take a closer look at the stigma around mental health, how this stigma commonly manifests in behavior and society, as well as the best ways we can all contribute to breaking the stigma of mental health.
What is the stigma in mental health?
A stigma is a negative label, social disapproval or other form of publicly recognized shaming that’s chronically associated with a particular behavior, condition or characteristic.
The stigma in mental health refers to the various negative stereotypes, beliefs and attitudes towards those in the mental health community. This typically involves prejudice and discrimination towards individuals living with a mental health condition, illness or disorder.
Examples of stigma in mental health
Stigmas can take many different forms, have varying levels of severity and affect people in different ways. It doesn’t help that these stigmas are often perpetuated in the media for the sake of drama, humor or publicity.
If you’re unfamiliar with mental health disorders, it can be easy to create a “story” around how you expect people living with those disorders to act, or how you expect their symptoms to manifest — but it may only rarely, if ever, match up to your imagination.
By becoming aware of the most common stigmas around mental health, you can begin to recognize if you or any of the people you regularly converse with are unintentionally perpetuating them.
The most common stigmas include:
- Putting blame on the individual for developing the condition
- Having a negative attitude toward those living with mental health conditions
- Discriminating against them in employment, housing, healthcare and education
- Shaming or excluding these individuals from various social activities
- Bullying (physically, emotionally or virtually)
These are just a few ways that the stigma in mental health can appear; keep an eye out.
Breaking the stigma of mental health
We all have a role to play in breaking the stigma of mental health, not only because it strengthens us as a society (to support rather than stigmatize), but because of how common mental health issues have become.
You’re probably interacting with a family member or friend on a regular basis who’s living with a mental health condition, whether they’re aware of it themselves or not. Knowing the right way to navigate these situations, relationships and conversations can make all the difference in helping a person be happier, healthier and might even save their life.
Some of the best ways you can help are to:
- Educate yourself about mental health conditions, signs and symptoms
- Learn the proper way to interact and respond if someone confides in you
- Talk openly about mental health and mental health care
- Empower people to seek treatment, rather than victimize them
- Lead by example, take care of your mental health and seek treatment if you need it
- Normalize discussing, seeking and receiving treatment for mental health
If you or someone you love is exhibiting symptoms of depression, or anxiety, or are struggling to heal from a traumatic experience or experience, let us help you begin your healing today.
Speak with an advisor today
Mental health is more widely discussed than ever, but countless people still never receive the treatment they need — you don’t have to be part of that statistic. You deserve a mind that is free, and balanced and that supports you rather than sabotages you. We can help.
Here at Mazzitti & Sullivan Counseling, we offer premier counseling services to adults and adolescents. We offer different types of services, depending on where you’re at mentally or physically in your journey. Each service covers the full spectrum of your needs.
To speak with one of our qualified advisors and learn more about how you can best take care of your mental health starting today, send us a message.