Nearly 60% of adults and 50% of children did not receive treatment for their mental illness in the past year. Many people avoid getting the help they need due to the negative stigma surrounding mental illness. In fact, over 75% of people are afraid of getting punished for taking a day off of work to attend to their mental health!
To start making a change, we must first address the issue of stigma. Here are 7 ways to fight the stigma of mental illness.
If you or someone you know suffers from a mental illness, it’s important to take the first step in seeking help. By asking for help or getting treatment, you are showing others that it is something that is okay, and is worth the time and energy. Once you feel ready, you can tell others how therapy can make a huge difference, and is not anything to be ashamed of. When people have symptoms of a cold, they go to the doctor. If you are showing symptoms of a mental illness, why not also go to a doctor?
Keep the conversation open
Don’t just talk about mental health during mental health month, keep the conversation going all year. Become a mental health advocate by posting on social media, standing up for others, and having discussions with other people about how mental health is important.
Educate yourself and others
Learn more about mental health, so you may help educate others. It’s okay to correct people who are using mental illnesses as adjectives because allowing this type of behavior to continue is what keeps the stigma alive. Grab some courage to speak out when people aren’t as aware because they may benefit from learning from what you have to say.
One of the best ways to fight the stigma behind mental illness is to take part in events dedicated to mental health awareness. There are events happening online and in-person nearly every month. Below are just a few of the Awareness events you can participate in:
- January – Mental Wellness Month
- February – National Eating Disorders Awareness Week, National School Counseling Week
- March – Self Harm Awareness Month, Self-Injury Awareness Day, World Bipolar Day
- April – National Autism Awareness Month, National Counseling Awareness Month
- May – Mental Health Month; National Maternal Depression Awareness Month
- June – National PTSD Awareness Month; Men’s Health Month
- July – National Minority Mental Health Month
- May – Mental Health Awareness Month
- September – Suicide Prevention Month, Suicide Prevention Week
- October – National Depression and Mental Health Screening Month, World Mental Health Day
- November – International Stress Awareness Day, International Survivors of Suicide Day
- December – International Day of Persons with Disabilities
Take Care Of Yourself.
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Share Your Story
One of the bravest things you can do is share your story of your journey to mental health. Recovery looks different for every single person, but there are usually common points to a story that someone else can relate to, and ultimately benefit from. In a world that quiets the talk around mental illness, they may not know how common their symptoms are, and how there are plenty of people out there “who get it”.
If you’re interested in sharing your personal story on this platform, you can read more here. You can submit your pseudonym anonymously if preferred, or include your name and attach links to your social media / website.