5 Ways to Fight Mental Health Stigma
5 Ways to Fight Mental Health Stigma:
Education: Educational efforts to combat stigma range from distributing flyers and brochures containing factual information about mental disorder to school courses regarding the truth about mental disorder. We are seeing more people share education on social media, blogs, and online news outlets. Let’s mandate M.H. Education!.
Promoting personal contact: Promoting personal contact involves increased contact with someone with a mental disorder to dispel myths and stereotypes. 1 in 5 Americans has mental illness and it’s time to change the social avoidance that is a consequence of stigma. What if we treated folks dealing with mental illness with the same compassion as folks dealing with physical illness? We all know someone dealing with mental health symptoms, even if we don’t know it yet..
Change your language: Make an effort to stop using stigmatizing language. Crazy, schizo, insane, psycho, bipolar or other diseases as an adjective, saying “they’re so anorexic” as an adjective when you cannot look at someone and diagnose anorexia, saying therapy is weak, emotions are weak, or saying medication is bad are all powerful words that may perpetuate stigma through minimizing disease and stereotyping. “They need therapy” isn’t an insult, but it is an indicator of your internalized stigma..
Talk openly: If we want a real cultural revolution, we have to take on this core flawed belief: emotions are weak and we shouldn’t ask for help. As long as we subscribe to this notion, we will be fighting an uphill battle. We all need to drop this unrealistic robotic expectation that we can be perfect, have no uncomfortable emotions, and should never need anything from anyone. Remember, we all have emotional distress and experience mental illness to varying degrees..
Vote for mental health: It is important we all vote with mental health in mind. Stigma makes it harder for those in mental health and addiction recovery communities to make their voices heard. MentalHealthAmerica.net has a toolkit to help educate us on voting for mental health. You can join their advocacy network and receive updates on important issues so you can vote for changes. #mentalhealthmatters
Therapy and tacos for all,