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It is time to end the outdated stigmas about mental health
False beliefs about mental illness have lingered too long. Many of these negative stereotypes emerged when there was little research available. People had trouble grasping mental health disorders and so attached a stigma to those who suffered from them.
Many of these negative views still persist. Even when major strides in both research and treatment are now easily accessed, the stigma persists. The stubborn belief that people with mental health issues are deeply troubled and unstable needs to be put to rest. These views are outdated.
With today’s modern drugs and therapies, most mental health disorders are managed well, which allows the person to engage in normal daily life. False stigmas only work against all the progress that has been made in the field over the last few decades. Let’s take a look at some of these old-fashioned stigmas, and work to erase them from our cultural mindset.
Outdated Mental Health Stigmas That Need to Go
All of us know someone who has gone through a rough patch at some point. So many things can affect our mental health. Maybe the person has suffered a trauma. It might have been an adverse life event, or even a health condition that impacted their mental health. Going through an emotional struggle should not be looked down upon, but still stigmas persist. Yes, our culture has come a long way, and does now accept the need for getting help. But there is much work to be done to remove the stigma that still lingers.
Consider these 4 mental health stigmas that are no longer valid:
- You are weak. This is a very hard stigma to erase, especially for men. People bought into the thought that we should always be strong and in control. To accept that premise means that if you need to ask for help you are a weak person. Attitudes are slowly changing, which is a good thing.
- Something is wrong with you. A lack of research until recent decades led people to believe that mental illness meant you are somehow flawed. There was a clear label attached to a person with symptoms, that they were not “normal.” Now with better understanding about mental health issues, that stigma must go.
- Treatment is only for the worst cases. This stigma is a holdover from a hundred years ago when a mental illness meant going to a sanitarium. People came to believe that treatment was severe and reserved only for the sickest patients. Now treatment is accepted for helping any type of emotional struggle that crops up.
- You can’t be fixed. Huge advancements in mental health treatment mean a mental illness that may have once seemed hopeless can now be treated. New treatments are emerging all the time, as well as multi-modal approaches. A wide range of talk therapies has been proven to be effective, so this stigma has been debunked.
Sadly, too many people still hold on to old misguided beliefs about mental health. The key to stopping the stigma starts with open discussion about these very common issues.
Ways to End the Stigma Around Mental Health
People still avoid getting help and then suffer needlessly due to perceived stigma. As a culture we need to come together to stop the stigma around mental health issues. Some ways we can do that include:
- Be open. Topics about mental health should be discussed openly. There needs to be an open airing of all things mental health. If you or a family member has struggled with a mental health issue, don’t be shy. Start a conversation about it with someone who is clearly struggling. Your open discourse will enable them to muster the courage to get treatment.
- Share information. So much of the stigma comes from falsehoods about mental illness. If you have struggled with a mental health disorder and witness someone spreading false information, go ahead and gently correct them. If you know of solid resources for mental health info, share the links with friends who may really need them.
- Don’t be shy. If you are having symptoms of mental distress, share this with your doctor when you are there. Doctors are getting better at integrating mental health with physical health, but often forget to ask. If you know something is wrong, don’t be shy about sharing this with your doctor.
- Show compassion. People are less likely to hide in the shadows and suffer alone if they feel are treated with compassion. Stigma lives in the shadows. Draw people out of the shame or fear they may feel and let them know you care.
Huge Strides in Treating Mental Illness
Pharmacology has come a long way since the 1980s. There are dozens and dozens of effective meds now at the ready to help people get through a mental health issue. These drugs are lifesaving for many people who, in the past, would have suffered greatly. The advent of so many new psych meds, plus a huge array of talk therapies, means treatment can really work.
There is no reason for someone to suffer with a mental health disorder these days. Old-fashioned stigmas should not keep you from getting the help you deserve. Every person deserves to live his or her best life. There are effective treatments out there to help, so push past those old school stigmas and get better.
The Treatment Specialist is Your Online Mental Health Resource
Reach out to the team at The Treatment Specialist to get your questions answered about mental health topics. With a vast library of data and information about all mental health disorders and treatment options, we can offer guidance. If you or a loved one is struggling, reach out to The Treatment Specialist today for a free assessment. Call (866) 644-7911 today.