The stigma behind mental illness has become an increasingly debated topic of discussion, and the fight to end this unfair stigma is growing stronger and stronger as education on the subject becomes more prevalent.
A stigma is essentially a sense of disgrace or disapproval toward a person's characteristics or a certain quality that they may possess. Stigmas tend to lead to alienation and embarrassment, causing a sense of shame and hopelessness in the person that they are directed toward.
When stigmas like the one regarding mental illness exist, it's hard for people who live with the illness to seek help and cope with their struggles. Our staff at trueself wants to team up with our beloved readers in order to help destroy the stigma behind mental illness by providing you with a few simple steps to ensure that you are properly educated on the subject.
By following the 9 tips below, you can help to end the stigma:
1. Choose Your Words Wisely
When talking to someone who is living with mental illness, make sure you are choosing your words very carefully. It is absolutely imperative that you avoid hurtful language like "crazy."
2. Resist Stereotypes
Don't assume that somebody isn't affected by mental illness simply because they appear to be happy or because they live a privileged life. Just because somebody has a mental illness doesn't mean they're dangerous. Stereotypes like this are not only false, but they are hurtful as well.
3. Be Open About Your Struggles - And Let Others Be Open Too
Not being able to discuss mental illness makes it even more difficult to live with. Getting a conversation started on the subject can allow further education and a lessening of stereotypes and stigmas.
4. Educate Yourself
Learn the facts and figures regarding the different types of mental illness so that you can talk about it and think about it in an educated manner. Educating yourself will also help you educate others.
5. Be Kind
This is an easy one. Be kind to everyone you meet. You never know when somebody is struggling, and even if they aren't, everyone deserves to be treated nicely.
6. Don't Trivialize
If somebody tells you that they are upset or being affected by mental illness, don't trivialize their struggle. Instead, ask if there is anything you can do to help.
7. See the Person Not the Illness
Mental illness does not define a person, nor does it make them any less of a human being. If somebody tells you that they are living with a mental illness, be empathetic but don't treat them any differently than you normally would. This can lead to alienation.
8. Support Innovators Who Push for Change
9. Realize the Numbers
The large number of people who are living with mental illness proves that you are not alone in your struggle, and neither is anybody else. There is strength in numbers, reach out and connect with somebody.
Are you or someone you know living with mental illness? Do you want to know more about the subject? Check out this great resource for more information.
Together we can end the stigma.