Five Things You Can Do to Overcome the Stigma Around Mental Health
1 in 3 adults struggle with a mental health condition such as depression, anxiety, or stress and yet society treats mental health as taboo. People develop mental conditions for various reasons; some are genetic or biological, other conditions could be a result of trauma or overwhelming stress at school, work, or home.
Unfortunately, the negative perception society has towards mental health has caused some harmful effects. These include:
Reluctance to seek help or treatment
Lack of understanding by family, friends, co-workers or others
Fewer opportunities for work, school or social activities or trouble finding housing
Bullying, physical violence or harassment
Health insurance that doesn't adequately cover mental illness treatment
Here’s what you can do to overcome the stigma:
1. Know the facts
Educate yourself about mental health so that you can better understand what it is and why it is important. This also includes examining your own judgmental thinking that has been reinforced by your upbringing and society.
2. Be conscious of the language you use
Language has a way of shaping perception and mental health conditions have been thrown about for humour, or to deride those who are coping with their mental health conditions. Choosing the right words can encourage compassion and empathy instead of shame and derision.
3. Get treatment
Many fear being labelled with a mental condition and this may prevent them from seeking help. Treatment can provide relief by identifying what's wrong and reducing symptoms that interfere with your work and personal life. Being able to open up about your treatment with others can also help them reassess their perception of mental health and give licence for them to do the same.
4. Don't isolate yourself
It’s not always easy to be vulnerable with people, especially those closest to you when you are struggling mentally. It is important not to isolate yourself and to reach out to people you can trust for the compassion, support and understanding you need. If your family and friends are unable to lend the support you need, seeking professional help from a mental health professional could help you. And the reverse is also true – make it known that you are a safe space for others to come to should they need support as well. But do so only if you are prepared and capable of doing so.
5. Talk openly about mental health
The more you talk about it, the more you can talk about it. Normalising the conversation around mental health can help others feel more comfortable about sharing their own experiences. It can also help you gain perspective and overcome destructive self-judgements.
Most of the time, stigma stems from a lack of understanding rather than information based on facts and the only way to destigmatise mental health is to be brave enough to regularly have honest and open conversations about it. This can help others open up to overcome the stigma they may be facing also.
Destigmatising mental health is possible but it can only happen if people continue to challenge their social conditioning with facts, practice self-acceptance, and treat each other with empathy.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about how Naluri can help you and your team can best address mental health concerns in the workplace. For individual and couple's counselling, please schedule a remote or online therapy with Naluri’s clinical psychologists and expert counsellors or contact the free 24-hour careline for immediate support.
- Written by:
- Chloe Pharamond