1 in 4 people across the entire world will experience mental illness in their lifetime but chances are, the majority of them won’t talk about it. That’s because 9 out of 10 that do, reported the negative effects of stigma and discrimination as a direct result of their mental illness.
What is Stigma?
Stigma, by dictionary definition is: “a mark of disgrace associated with a particular circumstance, quality or person.” There is a stigma surrounding mental illness that is having catastrophic affects on people’s wellbeing. Stigma is the reason people lie about their wellbeing, or don’t tell their families that they’re struggling.
How can we get rid of the Stigma of mental illness?
Power in Numbers
The best way to combat stigma is to tackle it head on. 25% of the worlds population are dealing with a mental illness of some sort, if every one of those people opened up and spoke about it we’re pretty sure the stigma wouldn’t last long. That’s because stigma and judgement often comes from a fear of the unknown.
We need to reframe the way that mental illness is seen by the general population and in doing so, it will soon become apparent that mental illness is not something to be ashamed or afraid of. The more people know about mental illness, the better – so, get reading people!
When your mate or family member says something incorrect or inaccurate about mental illness, pull them up on it! This is your opportunity to educate someone, (just try not to be a smart arse about it 😉)
Someone with a mental illness is not ‘crazy’ and it’s kind of unfair to call them that. Same applies with ‘loon’, ‘lunatic’, ‘nutter’ and ‘fruitcake’ – its mean, its outdated and should end now!
When someone tells you they have a mental illness, keep the conversation light and positive. Reassure them that many people live their lives with mental illnesses, and together, you can get through it – no biggie.
It’s time to talk
Why are we so scared to talk when we’re not doing so good? What’s the point in asking someone how they are every time we see them, if they’re not allowed to actually say how they are!?
Why is it so important?
Young mental illness is not taken seriously enough. People under 25 often get brushed aside when they say that they’re struggling – this needs to change. 1 in 10 people under 25 will experience mental health problems, that’s a whole lot of young people being told that they’re ‘just hormonal’ or ‘going through a phase’ – sound familiar?
Stigma is causing people to keep quiet about their mental illnesses and discouraging people from seeking the support that they need. The most dangerous thing about this is that with early intervention, most mental illnesses can be controlled and even reversed.
It’s time we kicked stigma in the nuts and start talking about our mental wellbeing! Start that conversation now by joining the community
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