Overcoming the Stigma of Mental Health Issues

Scrabble pieces spelling out the workd "Stigma"

Over half of all people with mental illness don’t receive help for their disorders. Why is this? Why is there so much stigma around getting mental health assistance?

Kinds of Mental Health Stigma

According to researchers, mental health stigma falls into several categories.

Public Stigma

Public stigma has resulted from people looking down on those with mental health issues. People may resist seeking treatment, because they fear what others may think of them.

Personal Stigma

Personal stigma is evidenced by shame and negative beliefs about one’s own mental illness. Feeling weak if they admit they have a mental illness.

Organizational Stigma

Stigma occurs when organizations discriminate against those with mental illness. They may offer those with mental illness fewer opportunities or resources than healthy individuals. This is organizational stigma.

Famous People Speaking Out about Mental Illness

Prince Harry shared how EMDR therapy helped his anxiety and complicated grief.

Simone Biles stepped down from the Olympic Women’s Team All-Around competition to focus on her mental health.

Demi Lovato, who has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, speaks openly about her struggles with suicidal thoughts, eating disorder, self-harm, and drug abuse.

“It’s O.K. to Not be O.K.”

This is a quote by tennis star Naomi Osaka, speaking out about mental illness. I visited with FOX4 Southwest Florida about Naomi Osaka and the stigma of mental health. I stated that when famous people are willing to talk about their mental health issues it normalizes the experience. At some point in our lives all of us are likely to experience a mental health crisis. It’s okay to ask for help. Follow the link to  see tips for coping with mental illness.

How Do We Remove the Stigma?

Offer Compassion

First, we need to remember that no one plans to get a mental illness. We need to offer support and compassion for those who are struggling. Mental illness could touch all of us, so let’s treat others with the same respect and dignity we would wish for.

No Shame

Second, if you are personally facing a mental illness, know that there is no shame in asking for help. Secrecy will only make it worse. Mental Health professionals will not judge you. They will support you and help you understand your mental health disorder. They will teach you coping skills and help you address the underlying issues. Seeking help is a very courageous step.

Create Awareness

Third, advocate for better mental health awareness at your job, your church, and your community.

Resources for Mental Health Services

Follow these links for more information about mental health resources in Southwest Florida, as well as many other mental health organizations.

If you’re dealing with mental health issue, take the courageous step to ask for help.