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Friday, May 4, 2018

Stigma Against People With Mental Health Conditions

Over the course of May, millions of Americans have an opportunity to save lives. It’s true, and all you have to do is commit to ending stigma. Mental illness affects millions of people in the United States; on any given day, 60 million individuals manage a mental health disorder. You might already be aware that the overwhelming majority of people struggling with psychological problems do not receive any treatment; whether we are talking about depression or substance use disorder, social stigma impacts people’s ability to reach out for assistance.

It might be hard for the general public to see how a person's views about mental illness can prevent another from accessing care. In fact, it is likely that most people don’t know that they have misguided notions about mental health disorders and that their beliefs encourage those suffering to stay quiet for fear of social repercussions. Whether people realize it, or not, isn’t as essential as taking steps to change people’s perception. We can all have a hand in educating the average American about mental illness, turning the lights on the damage done by stigma, and treating those struggling with compassion and kindness.

The arrival of May marks the beginning of Mental Health Month! Several organizations that work tirelessly year-round to help people in the grips of mental illness are hosting events and sponsoring campaigns. People living with psychological health conditions, and their families, need support; one way to accomplish helping such people is to educate and encourage society to take a closer look at mental illness. If the general public saw just how pervasive brain diseases are today, they might reconsider their views and become part of the solution.

 

Have Your Been Infected by Stigma?


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We all have the capacity for judgment; even those who purport themselves as being enlightened are capable of looking down upon others. In someone's opinion, human beings have a predisposition to try and separate “this from that,” “him from her,” and "that person’s want from this person’s needs.” Maybe having a penchant for judging is something we adopt? Whatever may the causes be, who among us has not been on the wrong side of shame at some point in life?

This year, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) has chosen the theme of curing stigma for Mental Health Month. The organization asks that We all examine our "own" behavior before judging others. NAMI rightly believes that millions of people are unwilling or unable to seek help for their mental illness due to social stigma. The nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization understands that many people don’t grasp the insidious or pernicious nature of shame; but, they sincerely believe that together We can change hearts and minds, and encourage people with mental afflictions to seek assistance.

 

#CureStigma Campaign Quiz and Manifesto


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Shame forces people into silence, preventing 1 in 5 Americans with mental health conditions from seeking help. Unchecked mental illness is often deadly, a sad reality to be sure. However, and perhaps even more poignant, is that people continue to needlessly suffer despite the fact that treatments for serious mental illnesses today are highly effective. NAMI reports that when people access the best treatments, between 70 and 90% of individuals have significant reduction of symptoms and marked improvements in life quality.

NAMI asks that everyone take some time out of their day to learn, not just about mental illness, but about their views on the subject. The advocacy group encourages you to take the CureStigma Quiz and help spread the cure.

“There’s a virus spreading across America. It harms the 1 in 5 Americans affected by mental health conditions. It shames them into silence. It prevents them from seeking help. And in some cases, it takes lives. What virus are we talking about? It’s stigma. Stigma against people with mental health conditions. But there’s good news. Stigma is 100% curable. Compassion, empathy and understanding are the antidote. Your voice can spread the cure. Join NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Together we can #CureStigma.”

 

Mental Health Treatment


Addiction is one of many mental health conditions plaguing Americans; and, in many cases, those living with addiction also have another disorder at play, such as depression, anxiety, PTSD, and bipolar disorder. If you are struggling with a co-occurring mental health disorder, please contact Hope By The Sea. We can help you begin the process of recovery and provide you with the tools for achieving lasting progress.

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