As we know, mental health is not always the easiest conversation to have. Whether you’re trying to talk to a loved one about their own mental health problem, or educating the community, the topic of mental health is important. As mental health professionals, we need to be diligent about striking up conversation with others regarding mental health. The more we talk about it, the less awkward it seems in conversation.
So the question is, HOW do you fight stigma? NAMI has a few answers for this question…
- Talk Openly about Mental Health
- If you or someone you know is suffering from a mental illness, encourage them to talk to others about what they’re going through. Even if it helps just one person, it’s worth it.
- Educate Yourself and Others
- Read up on the latest and greatest news so you’re staying informed for when those mental health conversations arise.
- Be Conscious of Language
- Fight stigma by reminding others that their language matters. It’s so easy to refrain from using mental health conditions as adjectives – most people are willing to replace their usage of it with something else if it’s explained to them!
- Show Compassion for Those with Mental Illness
- When you are in public, home, school, errands, etc. model compassion for others. “”Since so many of our homeless population are also struggling with mental illness, the simple act of showing affection can make their day, but also remind the bystander of something easily forgotten: the humanity of those who are suffering”” – Rachel Wagner
- Encourage Equality Between Physical and Mental Illness
- When people understand the true facts of what mental illness is, being a disease, they think twice about making comments. If you hear these comments, speak out and remind others that they wouldn?? make fun of someone with diabetes, heart disease, or cancer.
- Be Honest about Treatment
- If you are suffering from mental illness, be honest with others that you are seeing a psychiatrist, counselor, getting TMS therapy etc. This will allow a safe space for you and others to be honest about mental health.
According to NAMI, this is what our collective voice sounds like. It sounds like bravery, strength and persistence – the qualities we need to face mental illness and fight stigma. No matter how you contribute to the mental health movement, you can make a difference simply by knowing that mental illness is not anyone’s fault, no matter what societal stigma says. You can make a difference by being and living stigma free!
HAPPY MONDAY! You are worth it, you are valued, and you are loved!
We need to stand up when others tell us to sit down, and we need to speak out when others tell us to be silent — Bob Edgar