Mental illness is extremely common in the United States. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, nearly one in five U.S. adults suffer from some form of psychological disability, with over 14 million enduring a serious mental illness. And yet, mental health continues to carry with it a stigma. People with mental illnesses are frequently blamed for their condition or told that it is not real. Because of this stigma, many people who would otherwise seek help for their illness end up not doing so. Fighting back against the stigma of mental illness is essential to ending this bias and ensuring that everyone who needs it can get the help they need.
How to Fight Back Against the Mental Health Stigma
Here are five effective ways to go about destigmatizing mental health:
1. Don’t Allow Your Illness to Define You. You may suffer from a psychological disorder, but you are not your illness. Understand that any mental health stigma attached to your condition is coming from outside of you and has nothing to do with you and your illness. You are so much more than your disease.
2. Speak Openly About Mental Illness. Being frank when talking about your struggles or the struggles of others you know can help normalize mental illness. Many people think of mental illness as something that is outside their realm of understanding, but hearing personal stories can help make mental illness real and work towards destigmatizing mental health.
3. Encourage Education about Mental Health. There is plenty of information available for people who are interested in learning about mental health. In addition to sharing personal stories, you can point people toward places where they can learn more. Advocating for increased education in schools and other institutions is also a great way to help fight against the mental health stigma.
4. Be a Media Watchdog. Although society as a whole is more understanding of mental health than it’s been in the past, the media sometimes will still hold a bias against mental health issues. If you see a storyline on a TV show or an ignorant comment in a newspaper that perpetuates a depression stigma or bias against mental health issues, write to the outlet and let them know. Similarly, if you see a social media post that perpetuates misinformation about mental illness, take the opportunity to educate the poster.
5. Get Treatment. Finally, the most important thing you can do if you have a mental health condition is to seek help. Not only will it help you overcome your disease, but the more people who make use of mental health services, the more resources can be allocated to these services, and the less likely they are to remain stigmatized.
If you feel like you’re suffering from depression or another mental health condition, there is plenty of help available to you. At Aloha Integrative Health, we offer a range of effective treatments that can help you start feeling like yourself again. When you’re ready to begin fighting through the stigma of mental illness and start getting the treatment you need, we’re here to help.
Reach out today to speak with a patient care specialist and see if our services are right for you.