Thanks for checking my catalyst conference out! To start, this is me!
Check out why reducing stigma is important to me down below:
To start off I would like it if you all filled out a quick survey- It is totally anonymous but I will be sharing the results if you are interested!! https://forms.gle/cpGugQCBvAC5Nb7y7
Now lets get started! First, before anyone can work towards reducing stigma, they have to understand what it is and where it comes from. Without mental illness there is no stigma. A mental illness is defined as a condition which causes serious disorder in a person’s behavior or thinking. How many people does this effect? Check out below.
I would like to break down the most common mental illnesses because it is also important that everyone has a base knowledge about them:
OCD is characterized by repeated behaviors sparked by anxious feelings or obsessions that may include contamination by dirt or germs, imagined harm to loved ones, runaway sexual urges, and devastating moral guilt. Compulsions are the repeated behaviors or rituals that the person is driven to complete perfectly to cope with their anxiety.
Schizophrenia affects over 2.4 million American people. Interfering with a person’s ability to think clearly, manage emotions, make decisions and relate to others, schizophrenia impairs a person’s ability to function to their potential when it is not treated.
Bipolar disorder is a chronic illness with recurring episodes of mania and depression that can last from one day to months. This mental illness causes unusual and dramatic shifts in mood, energy and the ability to think clearly.
Suicidality and Self-harming Behavior is the most dangerous and fear-inducing features of BPD are the self-harm behaviors and potential for suicide. An estimated 10 percent kill themselves. Deliberate self harming (cutting, burning, hitting, head banging, hair pulling) is a common feature of BPD. Individuals who self harm report that causing themselves physical pain generates a sense of release and relief which temporarily alleviates excruciating emotional feelings.
Depression may involve one or more of the following: feelings of melancholy, loss of energy and/or appetite, insomnia or hypersomnia and/or a loss of interest in others, sex and life generally. It may be related to specific events like a death in the family or it may be chronic and continuous with little apparent relationship to daily events.
Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder is a condition characterized by inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity. The most commonly diagnosed behavior disorder in young people. ADHD may affect each child or youth differently, but it is important for parents to consider such areas as school, coexisting conditions and parenting strategies.
Anorexia nervosa is a serious, occasionally chronic, and potentially life-threatening eating disorder defined by a refusal to maintain minimal body weight within 15 percent of an individual’s normal weight.
Bulimia nervosa is a serious eating disorder marked by a destructive pattern of binge-eating and recurrent inappropriate compensatory behaviors to control one’s weight.
As you can see a lot of people are suffering and there are a wide range of things that they can be suffering from! Knowing all this just highlights why it is more important that we work to reduce stigma and allow people to get help than ever…
Now that we know so much about these mental illnesses, it’s time to actually work towards understanding stigma. A good place to start is the definition:
Keep these words in your mind:
But how did this all start?
In Greek society, stizein was a mark placed on slaves to identify their position in the social structure and to indicate that they were of less value. The modern derivative, stigma
It has long been wrongly thought that mental illness was a sign of weakness and that one should be ashamed to be suffering. People with mental disorders have also been thought of crazy, however that is far from the truth. It is important we recognize that people suffering are just like us!
Now that we have a general idea of what stigma is, it’s time to go more in depth and to gain more understanding into what effect it can have on people. Check out this video:
I talked a little bit about how stigma can stop, teens specifically, from seeking treatment in my interview with Marina Silvestre, a local counselor who works for Groundwork Counseling. https://www.groundworkcounseling.com
Some of her powerful words:
“There is fear of being scrutinized, judged, or humiliated when teenagers express themselves. “
“There is also a stigma and assumption that people who go to therapy are “crazy”. It is usually based on misinformation and lack of education. Parents also influence how openly their children communicate. If parents don’t have experience with depression or anxiety, they struggle to be empathic and know how to respond. Many parents are unaware of when they invalidate their children’s emotions.“
“Acceptance must precede change”
So… what can you do? Well start here:
- Think about yourself: Do you have biases or fears of people with mental illnesses?
- Check out this article:https://www.huffpost.com/entry/this-is-why-were-scared-to-talk-about-mental-health_n_579117c6e4b0a9208b5f3af2
- Also: there is nothing to be afraid of!
- Avoid using words that can be hurtful: Like “Psycho” or “Crazy” (even if you don’t mean it “in that way’)
- Get more comfortable discussing mental illness: Talk about what you see in the media
- Here are some conversation starters: https://www.livingroomconversations.org/topics/mental_health/
- Here is a discussion guide you could use in any setting:http://makeitok.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/discussion_guide-copy-.pdf
- Remember: It’s okay to be unsure in these conversations as long as you are being compassionate
MOST OF ALL: Learn MORE & MORE about mental illnesses and stigma. Here are a few places to start
Thank you all for visiting from the bottom of my ♡
Hope you learned something!!
Also if you are struggling and need help please call (888) 724-7240.
Help IS out there