Getting Rid of the Stigma Around Mental Illness

Getting Rid of the Stigma Around Mental Illness

Some believe that the goal of fighting stigma is a lost cause. What does it matter what people think? But the truth is that because of stigma, those who have mental illness issues are sometimes seen as nothing but their condition. They are often:

  • Expected to magically change their behaviors, thoughts, and emotions.
  • Viewed as “flakey” or unpredictable.
  • Held responsible for the things that are out of their control.
  • Isolated by others.

Having a mental health condition is already difficult, and the stigma can sometimes lead to tragic results. More than 41,000 people take their own life every year, according to the CDC. In America, suicide is the the 3rd leading cause of death among people aged 10-24 and also the 10th leading cause of death among adults. So fighting the stigma associated with mental illness could mean staying lives.

To decrease the stigma related to mental illnesses, we need to be open to having more conversations with each other about it. The more open and honest conversations we have about mental illness, the more normalized it will become. Starting the conversation is important. It can go a long way towards getting rid of stigma.

Another advantage to eliminating the stigma associated with mental illness is that those who experience mental health issues will feel better about asking for help. It is absolutely essential that they should be able to. Just like individuals who have addiction issues, it is not helpful if we as a society make it seem like these people are “bad” or that they do not have a real disease. The misconception that people suffering from depression should just “pick themselves up off the ground” or that alcoholics “just need to stop drinking” is a problematic one.

Removing the stigma associated with these conditions will go a long way when it comes to the way they are treated. It’s important that we open up to one another and start to have conversations about mental health in America.

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