Those with mental health conditions will agree that it’s not uncommon to be condemned or criticised. With name-calling, belittling and even mocking, the stigma around mental health will forever be a problematic concern. That is unless we begin to put an end to it. It may have been somewhat accepted in society hundreds of years ago, but our modern context is an entirely different setting when it comes to mental health.
The most disastrous side effect of stigma and its popularity is that those with mental health conditions are shunned and ignored. In many cases, this transforms from normal stigma to discrimination. Many choose not to speak up, or in worst-case scenarios, end up living their entire lives without seeking help. Fortunately, the stigma around mental health has decreased over the recent years, but there’s still some work that needs to be done.
So, How Do We End Mental Health Stigma?
Don’t Be Afraid, Talk About It
Talking about your mental health concerns is the first step towards removing stigma. Discussions and conversations allow for understanding, which results in tolerance and thoughtfulness. One of the best ways of doing this is by joining a support group. Talking with others in the same boat as yourself will make it easier to appreciate the nuances around mental health. If you feel that you may have any mental health concerns, speak to your GP. Don’t be afraid to make that first step towards opening up about such matters, as it is only then that you’ll begin to find a solution.
Awareness and Education
Whilst this is important for those suffering from mental health conditions, it’s even more important for those witnessing others suffering. By educating ourselves about these matters, we automatically put ourselves in a better position to understand mental health. You can try educating yourself by reading through credible sources. Alternatively, pick up some physical resources next time you visit your GP. To take that next step, share this information with others such as your friends, family and work colleagues.
Choose Your Language Wisely
We may already have bad habits when it comes to the terminology we use. Try unlearning what you already know and learn to become considerate of the language you use. We’re living in a world where it can be difficult to decipher who has or does not have a mental health condition. By being respectful in how we speak and the wordings we use when it comes to this topic, the better it is for those we speak to.
Seek Treatment If You Need To
If you’re suffering from a mental health condition, don’t be afraid to seek treatment. If you had an infection or another physical ailment, would you be afraid to seek treatment? Well, a mental health condition should be treated equally, if not more important. Don’t worry about being labelled and focus on finding a solution to your problem. Remember to be kind to your body and take care of yourself in a time when everyone may be mocking you. If you are not suffering from a mental health condition but you have a family who does, remember to be considerate with them and help them seek treatment. Remind them that this is normal and nothing to be ashamed of. In many cases, the words of support you give to a family member can go a long way in finding a solution and removing stigma.
Main Image Credit: Sasha Freemind (Unsplash)