Reducing the stigma of mental illness
Millions of people live with mental illness, but unfortunately, there is still a stigma attached to it. The stigma of mental illness prevents people from getting the help that they need when they have the symptoms of a problem, and it makes it more difficult for people with mental illness to live their lives. Mental Illness Awareness Week, which takes place during the first week in October, is an opportunity for the public to learn more about mental illness in order to fight the stigma for sufferers. It is the perfect opportunity for mental illness sufferers and their supporters to take steps to reduce stigma with steps like these.
Be open and honest
Much of the stigma of mental illness comes with the fact that it is widely misunderstood. It’s important for people living with mental illness and their advocates to speak up openly and honestly about mental health.
Don’t shy away from sharing diagnoses with people. Talk openly about treatment and the effects of mental illness on your life. These actions will help to educate people, which is a powerful tool in fighting stigma.
Talk about physical and mental illnesses in the same way
People are almost always compassionate to people who are suffering from a physical illness, such as cancer or heart disease, but they treat mental illness differently. Fight back against this by ensuring that you discuss physical and mental illness in the same way.
Setting a standard of equality between these two types of illness will help to show people that they should be treated the same. Mental illness is a health problem, not a character flaw, so set an example by treating it as such.
Don’t stigmatize yourself
If you have mental illness, break the stigma with yourself first. Don’t feel embarrassed about mental illness or withdraw from activities because you’re concerned people will know you have a mental illness.
Southern Hills Hospital & Medical Center offers geriatric behavioral health services in Las Vegas and is constructing an 80-bed facility for treating mental illness in patients 13 and older in our continued commitment to be a resource for the community. Please call (702) 916-5023 for more information about our behavioral health services.