The Danger Of Mental Health Stigmas And How To Address Them
There are plenty of treatment options for mental health disorders, but many people aren't getting the help they need. One of the reasons for this is that mental health stigmas get in their way. These stigmas can have many dangerous outcomes, and it's something that we need to address.
What Are Stigmas?
A stigma is when someone views you negatively because you have a particular trait or characteristic. The stigmas surrounding mental health might make people feel ashamed of their mental health challenges, which can stop them from getting the help they need.
People with mental challenges should not be ashamed of the struggles that they're living with, but the stigma can make them feel this way.
There are several different things responsible for the stigma that surrounds mental health. According to one report, "Several studies show that stigma usually arises from lack of awareness, lack of education, lack of perception, and the nature and complications of mental illness, for example, odd behaviors and violence." Therefore, to change the stigma surrounding mental wellness, we need to address its original causes.
Dangers Of Mental Health Stigmas
In addition to stopping people from seeking treatment, there are other dangers of mental health stigmas. Let’s take a closer look at some of them.
It Hurts The Way People Treat Others
Many people connect mental health disorders with dangerous activity. You don't often hear about mental wellness in the news until there is a big event, like a mass shooting or other terrible crime. Then people start talking about mental wellness because they assume the event because the person had mental health challenges.
However, people with mental challenges are more likely to be victims of a crime than commit one. But this information doesn’t make news coverage. While it is true that people need to be more aware of their mental health and that of others and that the media can help spread awareness, connecting mental health with mass shootings and other similar events sheds a negative light on the topic.
When people are afraid of or don't understand mental health disorders, they tend to show it in their behavior and how they treat people diagnosed with them. Instead of people with mental health conditions being open about their challenges, they stay quiet so they don't draw attention.
It Hurts The Way People Think Of Themselves
Mental health stigmas can also hurt how people think of themselves, adding to their challenges with their original diagnosis. It can add shame to the mix and cause people to have added anxiety and depression that they don't need. This can make them feel like their situation is hopeless. And they won't feel like they have anyone to turn to.
It Can Lead To Suicide
Feeling constantly judged, criticized, or teased because of a mental health challenge can lead to depression. As discussed above, it can also stop them from seeking the necessary treatment.
These things combined can cause someone to spiral down into a dark place. If they feel that they can't talk to anyone about what they are experiencing and are not getting the help they need, their depression can lead to suicidal thoughts or suicide.
This is not something to be taken lightly. The stigma of mental wellness is very serious. It impacts people daily, and it needs to be addressed.
How To Address Mental Health Stigmas
The best way to start addressing mental health stigmas is to talk more about mental wellness. The more we educate people on the realities of mental health challenges, the weaker the stigma becomes. People will see that these disorders and challenges are not as rare as many people think.
Here are some additional ways that we can address mental health stigmas:
Focus On Education
The more we can educate people on the facts of mental wellness, the faster the stigma will end. To end the stigma, we need to get the right resources into the hands of people in every community.
Two reasons people give for not getting the help they need are that they aren't sure where to get help, and they're worried about what it will do to their relationships and employment opportunities.
These things should not be holding people back from getting help in this day and age.
Learn To Separate The Person From The Diagnosis
A simple change in how we say things about mental wellness can make a significant impact. For example, instead of saying, "I'm bipolar," you should say something like, "I have bipolar disorder." It's a small change, but it can make a big difference in how you think of yourself or others diagnosed with mental health disorders.
It's essential to understand that the person is not their diagnosis. Their mental wellness challenge is just one small part of who they are as a person.
Forum Support Circles
Having a strong support system can be helpful if you have a mental health disorder. Family or friends who love and support you for who you are, challenges and all. You can turn to these people when dealing with the struggles that your mental challenges are causing and the stigma that they are causing.
It can be tempting to isolate yourself when you feel embarrassed or ashamed, but remember, there's nothing for you to feel ashamed of, and staying in contact with your family and friends can be very helpful and comforting.
Get Treatment When You Need It
There are plenty of licensed professionals to choose from if you are struggling with mental health challenges, from schizophrenia or bipolar disorder to having relationship problems or anxiety. There are many reasons why people go to see a therapist. A professional will help you get the treatment you need and help you learn how to cope with any negative impacts.
Don't Give In To The Stigma
Mental health stigma is something that we can overcome. But it's going to take society working together to make it happen. The most important things we need to focus on are getting people help if they need it and educating everyone on mental wellness.
If you are struggling with mental health symptoms, seek help. If you're uncomfortable talking to someone face-to-face, online therapy is a great way to get the help you need from the comfort of your home or anywhere you have an internet connection.
When you sign up for treatment, you’re matched with a qualified professional who is available to start helping you right away. There are no waiting lists or long commutes, and you can communicate with your therapist via email, text, instant messaging, phone, or video chat. Studies show that online therapy is effective, too. One review of 14 studies found that online therapy is just as effective as in-person treatment. If you’re ready to get started, sign up with Regain.
In this day and age, many resources are available for people to get treatment to learn how to overcome their mental health challenges. We must educate society on those treatment options, including telemedicine and online therapy. If you've been waiting to seek help because you have felt uncomfortable, now is a great time. Let's put an end to mental health stigmas.
What Are Some Mental Health Stigmas?
For a long time, people with mental illness have been subjected to stigma and discrimination by their community and healthcare providers. The effects of the stigma of mental illness have led many people with mental illness to refuse to seek health care, even though it is needed.
This stigma of mental illness is unfair, hurtful, and in most cases, untrue. Unfortunately, despite efforts to bring mental health issues and adequate mental health care to the public's attention have long gone unrecognized, and many remain victims of stigma and discrimination.
The effects of stigma and discrimination on people with mental illness cannot be overstated. The impact of this stigma causes people to fear ostracization by their community and peers if labeled with a mental illness. It causes them to try hiding it and manage their mental health conditions alone.
This is rarely effective and often leads to many other health conditions (both physical and mental health conditions) and mental health issues and can cause them to endanger themselves.
Some examples of stigmas of mental illness are:
- How the movie industry typically portrays villains with mental illness
- Treating mental illness as something that can just be overcome with effort
- Believing that people with mental illness are making it up
- The propensity of phrases like “he’s crazy” or “they’re nuts” when someone does something out of character
- The belief that people with mental illness lack self-control or are lazy
- That a mental illness makes people less capable or less intelligent
These are harmful mental health stigmas that discourage people from seeking health care for their mental health conditions.
What Are The Three Types Of Stigma?
The three types of stigma of mental health care are:
- Structural stigma: These are the policies put into place by governments or other large agencies that cause stigma and discrimination against people with mental illness.
- Social stigma: This is the most common form of stigma and discrimination faced by people with mental illness. It causes people to treat a person differently when they discover that they have a mental illness.
- Self-stigma: This stigma occurs when a person has been subjected to so much mental illness stigma that they begin to internalize it. The effects of stigma cause them to start believing the untrue things people have said about them. It is especially dangerous for people with mental illness because it causes them to be less likely to seek mental health services.
All stigma of mental illness is dangerous, pervasive, and harmful. The medical community hopes that as people learn more about mental illness, the stigma of mental illness will fade, and people with mental illness will be more likely to seek mental health services.
Why Is Mental Health Stigmatized?
Generally, the leading cause of stigma is a lack of understanding. People don’t take the time to learn about or understand the causes of mental health conditions. Instead, they listen to friends or family and take their outdated and incorrect opinions about mental illness as fact.
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