We need to get rid of the stigma around mental health once and for all. Let’s understand and share why it’s totally OK to not be OK…
During Children’s Mental Health week (Feb 1-8), it was reported* that 1 in 6 parents rated their children’s mental health as ‘poor’ or ‘very poor’ with 31% saying that their child was ‘worse’ or ‘much worse’ than before the pandemic. That’s a shockingly high figure and a very clear sign of just how tolling and difficult COVID-19 has been on our mental health.
Why The Stigma?
Despite these high numbers of teens experiencing mental health problems, there is still a stigma attached and that stands in the way of many people asking for the help they need. We need to put an end to this. Together, we can work to end the negative view that people experiencing mental health problems are somehow different. We all have mental health, sometimes it can be good and sometimes it can feel out of balance. Understanding this can allow us to open up to having honest conversations about mental health.
What Is Stigma?
Quite simply, stigma is a negative attitude or prejudiced behaviour towards someone. Often, this is because of ignorance – the person just doesn’t understand mental health problems. Uneducated opinions and actions can be incredibly hurtful, but we can all play our part to stop the stigma and educate those around us to make seeking help for mental health a much smoother, understanding path.
Sometimes, an individual with mental health problems might attach stigma to themselves. A person might feel ashamed or embarrassed to admit they have a problem. That’s why it’s so important for everyone to be open and understanding about mental health – we need to create a safe space where people who are struggling can speak up and seek help.
Stop The Stigma
So, what can we do to help? Here are a few things you can do to educate and open up honest conversations:
- Call out negative attitudes if you see them and share reliable, accurate information about the issue in question. You can educate yourself by reading about mental health and learning more about the various issues and treatments.
- Talk about your own experiences of mental health, if you have any. The more we share our experiences, the more commonplace they become, and the less stigma is attached.
- Share positive stories about mental health online to shine a light on all the good work that’s happening and to show that there is help out there. You never know which of your followers or friends could really need that lifeline at any moment.
- Don’t let the fear of being labelled stop you from getting help if you need it. Know that you are not alone and that having a mental health problem does not define you or make you inferior in any way.
- Talk to your friends and family about mental health and make your social circle a warm and accepting place to be. Having an open attitude to mental health will make it so much easier for a friend or family member to open up to you if they’re struggling.
Together, we can stop the stigma and make the world of mental health a safer, more accepting place. Only by talking about mental health honestly can we make a real difference to those who are struggling and scared to speak up. Let’s #ScrapTheStigma today!
For more help on dealing with stigma: