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Beating Mental Health Stigma

Stigma is when someone else, or even you yourself, has a negative view about a person when they have a mental health condition. There may be feelings of shame or judgement and people may use terms such as “crazy” or “out of their mind” when referring to people seeking help for these conditions. It is important to recognize these feelings and to learn more so that you can seek help and advocate for yourself despite these unhelpful messages about a very common struggle.

Life can be stressful and full of unanticipated changes. Your feelings and thoughts about the world and your place in it are important ways to monitor your mental health. Just like our physical health, checking in with your provider about how you are feeling mentally is not a sign of being “crazy.” Family and/or friends may also not understand how you are feeling or have their own feelings and judgements around medications or seeking help. Focusing on your own well-being at this time and understanding how it takes strength to reach out and ask for assistance is the healthiest way to face your feelings.

Sometimes we can confuse feeling bad with being bad, and stress, anxiety, depression and other mental health conditions can also take a toll on our physical health and well-being.  If you are struggling with difficult feelings you are not alone.  One in five Americans face mental health conditions. Breaking the silence and fighting stigma is hard, but it’s a step towards a healthier you!

Stigma may make you feel afraid that you will face rejection, judgement and discrimination, but there are resources available to help.  You do not need to face this alone.

  • Mental health conditions are the leading cause of disability across the United States.
  • Getting treatment for mental health conditions can lead to an improved quality of life and improvements in functioning, but less than half of the adults in the U.S. who need services and treatment get the help they need.

Stress, anxiety and mental health conditions can be situational or longer lasting. Getting support can help lessen the impact these issues can have on you and improve your quality of life.  Your visit to your provider’s office may include questions about your mood and daily functioning. It is important to be honest about how you are feeling so they can provide the best treatment.

It’s important to talk to your provider when you face the following:

  • Difficulty sleeping and being tired or being so up and active that you don’t want to sleep
  • Thoughts of hurting yourself
  • Seeing or hearing things that others may not
  • A desire to “numb” your feelings with drugs, alcohol or other activities
  • A sense that past experiences are keeping you from being present and coping with daily tasks
  • Any sudden changes in your mood or how you make decisions or function

We know it’s not easy to ask for help, just remember that you are the best judge of you and your ability to be open and honest with your provider can have a big influence on your care and your ability to be the best you can be. We offer confidential, non-judgmental services for mental health and are here to help you come out against the stigma!

If you have thoughts about hurting yourself or taking your life, seek emergent care with your provider, or go to the nearest emergency room, and call 911.

What questions do I ask?

  • I feel irritated most days and get angry easily. Am I depressed?
  • I don’t like talking to people. How would behavior health therapy help me?
  • I have been thinking about hurting myself, how can I get help?

How can I learn more?