Although more than half of people with mental illness don’t receive help. People often avoid or delay receiving help due to concerns of being treated differently or fear of loss of a job and livelihood. Therefore, the stigma against people with mental health remains a big problem.
Stigma often comes from lack of understanding or fear. Inaccurate or misleading media representations of mental illness contribute to both of these factors. A review of studies on stigma shows that while the public may accept the medical or genetic nature of a mental health disorder and the need for treatment, many people still have a negative view of those with mental illness.
Researchers identify three different types of stigma:
The stigma around mental illness, especially in some diverse racial and ethnic communities can be a major barrier to people from those cultures accessing mental health services. For example, in some Asian cultures, seeking professional help for mental illness may be counter to cultural values of strong family, emotional restraint and avoiding shame. Among some groups, including the African American communities, distrust of the mental healthcare system can also be a barrier to seeking help.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) offers some suggestions about what we can do as individuals to help reduce the stigma of mental illness:
Research shows that one of the best ways of overcoming the stigma of metal health is knowing or having contact with someone with mental illness. When we know someone with mental illness, it becomes less daunting and more tangible and relatable. Speaking out and sharing your story can have a positive impact, as people are looking for personal stories in which they relate.
A 2020 national survey of 14- to 22-year-olds found that 90 percent of teens and young adults experiencing symptoms of depression are researching mental health issues online, are accessing other people’s health stories through blogs, podcasts, and videos. About three in four young teens seeking information online about depression said they were looking for personal anecdotes from people who had suffered in the past.
If you need help overcoming past trauma, abuse or neglect. Mirror Images Texas equips men and women with tools for healing and recovery, in a group setting. Take the first step to overcoming the stigma of mental health by contacting us today. We’re here and ready to help!