you select two people in this picture
tigma, the shame and guilt frequently associated with mental health issues, didn't keep Tipper Gore or Rose VanSickle from seeking help. Having the courage to get treatment, despite what other people might think about them, is the one of the main reasons they have recovered. In having the courage to speak openly about their conditions, they share a common goal - to encourage others to get the help they need.
What causes stigma??
Not many people picture high-functioning persons and mental health problems in the same frame. Why? Because the general public has only trace of information and understanding about a mental or emotional diagnosis, but none about the people with those conditions. Generally, the public sees only one profile of people with mental problems - a person who harms himself or herself, or someone else.
What harm does stigma cause??
Humiliation often causes people to overlook their depression, anxiety, fears or anger. Lack of education and knowledge about mental illness causes feelings of failure and loss of self-esteem Stigma makes you think that perhaps your problem will just "go away." The reality is, the feelings will not magically disappear. When the next bout occurs, it will very likely be worse.
If you feel depressed or anxious, it's not because you're weak-minded. It simply means you have a condition - a very treatable, curable condition. You're apprehensive because you don't know what to do to help yourself. It's the lack of education and knowledge about mental illness that causes feelings of failure and loss of self-esteem.
People are treatment-shy because they don't want psychological problems on their records. Yet, most would not hesitate going for help for a physical condition. It is bad enough when individuals don't want to go for help, but a thousand times worse when they're held back by a relative who is afraid of tarnishing the family name.
You wouldn't think of going through life with a broken arm dangling at a twisted angle. You would get it fixed. You would go through the discomfort of a cast, even surgery, because you know the bone could be set, mend, and be functional once it healed.
The same is true for mental disorders. You can be treated, heal and function as good or better than before. People with mental health difficulties are not irresponsible, we make improvements every day. There are survivors out there. You just haven't met them. We blend in so well you can't even tell we have had problems unless we tell you.
Many people cling to the misbelief that a mental disorder only strikes someone who is incompetent. Others are smart enough to know they are as vulnerable as the next person. That's the real reason people are afraid to talk about anything referring to mental health. It's similar to avoiding conversations about cancer. Have you ever felt uncomfortable, or found a way to avoid talking to a person who's undergoing cancer treatment, or to one of their relatives? Oftentimes we're uncomfortable because we don't want to think about ourselves in their shoes.
What can you do??
Let people know your thoughts on mental health issues - that it's all right to have a problem - that seeking help is the wise thing to do. Even in casual conversations let your message be one of acceptance, honor and encouragement. When someone tells you about themselves, a friend or family member who is going for treatment or counseling, verbally applaud the person. Tell them you think it's wonderful that they've taken the steps to move forward. If you are face to face with the person in treatment, look them in the eye and tell them that you respect them.
If it's you who feels troubled, more than likely you're going to try to hide it. Please don't! Reach out! The difficulties you are facing are not rare. They are common and treatable. Don't forgo the treatment and support that is available.
to overcome any level of depression, anxiety, stress or tension is a sign
of maturity and emotional strength.
you are in pain, please don't ignore it.
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