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Stamping Out Mental Health Stigma

Trigger/Content Warnings:

  • Negative perceptions on mental illnesses which in no way I believe in/ nor are true but could cause someone struggling to believe to be true.
  • Mental Illnesses

Image Credit: coastal west sussex mind

Stigma: Negative stereotypes about a group of people.

People with mental health problems experience stigma and discrimination on a daily basis. Unfortunately, people who discriminate against those who suffer from a mental illness fail to realise how severe and completely real mental illnesses are. Mental health problems are already difficult to deal with so you can imagine how worse it is with the stigma surrounding it from people who do not completely understand it.

This negative perception often projects the attitude that a person suffering from a mental illness is dangerous, strange, violent. They also often humiliate, degrade and exclude them. How does this affect mental health? Well, these negative perceptions makes it harder for someone to speak up and seek help. All I want to know is, why would anyone want to contribute to these negative experiences? As I said in an earlier post from last year (which you can read here), we should be opening the door to mental health, support and understanding. We should be opening the door for people dealing with these illnesses and showing them that they are worth the recovery and help and that they shouldn't be afraid. What we should not be doing is closing the door to the issue that people seem to be misunderstanding.

Stigma isolates people. Stigma leads to low self esteem. Stigma can stop people from getting and even keeping their jobs. Stigma stops people from seeking help. Stigma makes people afraid and creates the fear of rejection. This needs to stop! People need to feel like there is a safe and friendly place that they can go to to seek help. People need to know that there is support out there and I feel like it's everyone's job to show that bit of reassurance.

What's completely infuriating, is that if you had a broken bone you would be on the way to the hospital immediately without any hesitation or second thought. You would be treated instantly, with the utmost care and support and you would be asked to come back for a check up after a long rest at home and all cast up. You wouldn't worry about what people thought and you wouldn't be afraid of any stigma or discrimination attached to your condition. You would have people sympathising you and checking up on you, asking how you are doing and whatnot. Yet those who suffer from a mental illness most of the time do not receive this level of support. When someone bravely seeks help, they are usually put on waiting lists from weeks to months on end. (Please do not let this discourage you from seeking help, this isn't the case for everyone and factors vary). Also a lot of the time, for example someone with depression will be told to just 'stop being sad' or to 'just deal with it'.

Mental Illnesses are just as real as physical illnesses, remember that.

How can we stop the stigmatisation and discrimination of mental health? 

Well, we are quite a way off stamping out the stigma, there's a long way to go but it's definitely not impossible. I do hope that one day all these negative perceptions cease to exist.

However, there are so many things that we as a community can do. We can raise awareness.

How, you ask?
  • Start the conversation! - with your family, friends, teachers (oh do I have a lot to say about this one in tomorrow's post), work colleagues about mental health stigma.
  • Talk about your story. If you yourself have dealt/are dealing with a mental illness or you know someone who has/is, speak up. You don't have to! But things like this inspires people and they learn from it. It's a big step but don't think of the negative perceptions, think of only the positive impact and the courage you'd be showing. Don't be afraid to tell your story.
  • When you witness stigmatising behaviour, find that bit of courage and confidence inside you and challenge it. People can learn.
  • Volunteer for Mental Health charities, campaigns and so on. For more information, visit 1 and 2 (examples). There are so many charities, campaigns and people you can work with. 
  • Be aware of the language you use. Using mental illnesses as adjectives takes the severity away from the issue. Refer to this post I wrote last year for more information.

Also! One thing to look out for is what could be seen as a cry for help. If someone reaches out to you in any way, please don't ignore them! Please support them and let them know you're here. It takes a great deal of courage for someone to seek help.

Mental Health Stigma and Discrimination is a very wide topic, for more information visit these sites:

Thank you for reading,

until next time, be you and keep smiling.

Take a look at my last post for Mental Health Awareness Week: Let's Talk About Relationships.

Asking for help is not a sign of weakness, it reveals tremendous strength and courage. 

If you know anyone or you yourself need help in any way, please reach out to someone.



  1. This is so educational and such an important post.

    Whitney xoxo | Whitney Loren.


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