Mental Health: Fighting the Stigmas

 

Are you suffering from extended periods of emotional pain?  Are you reluctant to visit a mental health professional because –

  1. You’re anxious about what your family, friends or neighbors may think?

  2. You know you should be strong enough to get over your emotional pain?

  3. You believe that a mental health professional can’t make a difference in how you feel?

 

If you answered “yes” to the first question and any of the last three questions, you have been affected by the stigmas relating to mental illness.  It’s time to stop letting these stigmas keep you from obtaining the support you need to alleviate your emotional pain. 

 

What is a stigma?  A stigma is a judgement upon an individual’s character and, in families and small communities, these judgements can have powerful and sometimes devastating consequences.  When a person is in emotional pain, the related stigmas are that the person is weak, has poor life management skills, always angry, a loner, or lacking self-discipline. Sadly, it is very common for people struggling with depression, anxiety or PTSD to be the target of negative attitudes rather than compassion, tolerance and support.  Don’t let the stigma of mental illness prevent you from seeking help.

 

Effects of Mental Health Related Stigmas

  • Social distancing.  Depression, anxiety, and other forms of emotional pain often result in avoiding social situations.  Social distancing makes the situation much worse.  Humans are social animals and need healthy relationships. 

  • Lack of understanding.  Some people choose to accept the easy judgements and conventional opinions about mental illness rather than investing the time to understand it and find out what is happening with you.  Lack of understanding can be invalidating and very painful.

  • Bullying, harassment and avoidance. 

  • Health insurance often doesn’t adequately cover the cost of treatment.

  • Belief that your situation will never improve.

  • Reluctance to seek help.  As if the stigmas weren’t bad enough, there are co-conspirators such as negative self-talk, fear of gossip and embarrassment that keep people from getting help. 

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