Mental Health and Stigma Jun 13, 2024

Let's talk about mental health and stigma.

Every year, nearly 1 in 5 adults in the U.S. experiences some form of mental illness. However, a lot of people avoid seeking treatment because they are concerned about being judged or discriminated against. It doesn't have to be that way.

What is stigma?

1. Stigma is when someone judges you or treats you badly because of a mental or physical condition.

2. When it comes to mental health, stigma is often due to fear or a lack of understanding about mental illness.

3. Unfortunately, stigma toward people with a mental illness is common.

4. Stigma can affect individuals with a mental illness as well as the loved ones who support them.

Mental illness is a HEALTH CONDITION.

Just like cancer, diabetes, or arthritis, a mental illness is a health condition. Like other health conditions, it can significantly affect the quality of a person's life. It can affect mood, thinking and behavior. A person may develop a mental illness due to trauma, stress, substance use, or because of a genetic or biological reason. Sometimes the reason is unknown.

All mental illnesses can be treated and/or managed.

As an ally, you can look for opportunities to educate others about stigma and mental illness.

1. Educate yourself and others about how stigma can harm people with a mental illness.

2. Talk openly about mental health. Talking builds awareness.

3. Encourage others to think about a mental illness just as they would a physical illness.

4. Reach out if you, or someone you care about, is experiencing a mental health challenge.

5. Be aware of your words. A person is NOT their condition. Instead of saying, she is a "schizophrenic," say "my sister was diagnosed with schizophrenia."

6. Get treatment if you are concerned about your mental health.

7. Be kind to yourself and others.

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