Recently, you may have heard someone state that we need to fight the stigma against mental health, but what exactly does that mean, and how can you help?
Overall, stigma is defined as negative beliefs associated with a particular circumstance. In regards to mental health, often times people believe that those with mental illness can be dismissed as “weak,” “crazy,” or “dangerous.” These views are inaccurate and damaging, and show a misunderstanding of mental illness. This leads us to your very first step, and a few more!
Educate yourself and others.
Be aware of the language you use.
Be understanding and supportive of others.
Know a person is more than their illness, and treat them as such.
You may not understand or be able to imagine the problems someone is suffering because of their mental illness, but instead of being dismissive, you should let them know that you are there to listen and that you support them in their journey.
Refuse to stigmatize yourself!