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Overcoming the Stigma of Mental Illness

Getting treatment for mental illness can be even more difficult because of the stigmas attached to the disease

Unfortunately, stigmas against people suffering from mental illness are all too common. You may even judge yourself as someone fighting a mental disorder. There are two main types of discrimination you could see:

  1. Intentional – this could be someone making a negative remark about your illness or even your treatment.
  2. Unintentional – someone could avoid you because they assume you are violent, unstable or even dangerous.

Biggest Barrier

The biggest obstacle to mental healthcare is the stigma that surrounds it. This manifests into social distancing where the person suffering becomes isolated. The isolation then worsens their well-being as it creates a “why try” attitude. Because of this, any issues like anxiety and depression might be suppressed.

These stigmas go all the way to medical resources and even the media. In medicine, mentally ill patients can have lower prioritization and worse care. The media often links mental illness with violence or portrays them as dangerous, evil or even criminal.

Harmful Effects

Mental illness stigmas can lead to harmful effects such as:
– A reluctance to seek help
– A lack of understanding from friends or family
– Health insurance that doesn’t cover treatment
– Fewer opportunities for work, school and social activities
– The belief that you won’t be able to improve your situation

A Stereotyped Group

Because mentally ill sufferers are stereotyped, they are least likely of any group to:

  1. Find work
  2. Be in a steady, long-term relationship
  3. Live in decent housing
  4. Be socially included in mainstream society

Ways to Cope

The best ways to cope and overcome stigmas are:

  • To get treatment help
  • Don’t let the discrimination create self-doubt
  • Don’t isolate yourself
  • Don’t equate yourself with your illness
  • Join a support group
  • Get help at school
  • Speak out against the stigma (at events, editorials, etc.)

Take the First Step

If you are suffering from a mental illness, it’s important to reach out to a treatment facility and make that first step of asking for help. It can be the hardest step to take, but the sooner you get help the better chance you have for a successful recovery. Our specialized programs at Growth Extended are created to get you back on your feet as soon as possible. If you are ready to start your journey, contact us to discuss your treatment options.