Did you know that, according to NAMI, 1 out of 5 adults will experience a mental illness in a given year? That means that each of us will probably encounter or have encountered someone with mental illness. It is not as scarce as you may think, so why don’t we hear much about it? Because of mental health stigma.
The stigma around mental health is something we see every day in our society. It is ignoring concerns of anxiety and depression, it is not supporting people when people are feeling upset or down, and it is continuing to not talk about how we are feeling and thinking. This stigma is everywhere. It is in the news, in our communities, in our schools, and at our work. Due to this stigma, some people may feel ashamed or scared to get the mental health support they need. They may be embarrassed to tell people they see a therapist, or they may be embarrassed to even get help at all. Why? Because unfortunately there is a lot of judgement when it comes to mental health.
However, I am here to say that getting help does not make you weak, it makes you strong. Yes, that’s right. You are stronger when you can recognize something is not right, reach out to someone, and get the help you need. Mental health is nothing to be ashamed of or embarrassed about. We all have feelings and thoughts we need to talk through. We have difficult times and situations and we have difficult relationships. Yes, the severity of these things differs for all of us, but that doesn’t make it any less important. Your mental health is what is important, and I bet you will find that more people have mental health concerns than you realize. I am a little biased, but I do believe that it’s much better to talk about your feelings and concerns.
Eliminating stigma takes time, but there is one thing we can all do to work toward normalizing mental health right now. We can talk about it. Allow mental health to be open and honest in our conversations. Like I said above, everyone has difficult times, and if we talk more about mental health and the support available we will normalize it. Normalizing mental health will create a space where mental health can be talked about in a judge-free environment. It will allow people to get the support they need without feeling isolated or weak because, again, getting help makes you strong. So go ahead, start talking and #endthestigma.