The conversation around mental health is expanding, and more people than ever are sharing their experiences with mental health. With the growing knowledge and resources being shared around the topic, some parts of the population are still uncomfortable with talking about it and stigma surrounding the topic is still something we face today.
However, challenging the mental health stigma and discrimination behind the topic is more than just talking to people about it. How we address the condition as a society can play a critical role in this fight.
1. Educate Yourself and Others
You’ve probably heard the saying: “knowledge is power” — and this is true. Seeing someone mental health treatment or therapy shouldn’t be cause for alarm. Instead, educating yourself and others about mental illness and symptoms is the first step to fighting mental health stigma and discrimination.
Getting proper education also allows you to teach others about this condition and that it is treatable, just like any other medical issue.
By arming yourself and others with factual information, you can effectively replace much of the inaccuracies and rumors surrounding mental illness. When other people truly understand this condition, they are more likely to look past the negative views and stigma surrounding it and view it with compassion and understanding.
2. Include Others
Inclusiveness is vital and plays a key part in fighting mental health stigma. Have other people help in this fight as well. Speak with friends and family about the topic of mental health and share your concerns.
3. Don’t Buy into the Stigma
While some people think that mental illness is a sign of weakness, it isn’t. Seeking counseling and education can help you gain positive self-esteem and respect for those affected by mental illness. Being kind to yourself and others, and finding ways to support people with this condition can help you overcome this judgment.
4. Choose Empowerment Over Shame
We all want good health and a long life for our loved ones. Therefore, if you know a mentally ill person, let them know you are there to support them and that they are not alone.
Encourage those who seek support and be honest with the people around you. Remember, how you act and treat others can influence people’s attitudes toward you and other people.
5. Speak Up Against Stigma
We all have the power to stimulate change. Whether it’s with friends or a much larger audience, you can express your opinions confidently and assertively. Remind people why they shouldn’t make fun of or discriminate against people with mental health issues.
Whether it is anxiety, depression or more, mental illness has been with us since ancient times, and so has stigma and discrimination surrounding the topic. While most people have grown more humane and accepted mental illness as a health condition, many negative perceptions and stereotypes surrounding mental health remain embedded in society. So remember, we’re in this fight together.
About the Author
Sara Anderson of The Ezcare Clinic, a medical clinic that provides world-class healthcare services. Sara has been associated with the healthcare industry for over five years and specializes in medical content.