Treating Stigma


Image from Amy's blog, copyright protected.

Amy writes an anxiety, mental health & lifestyle blog. She has written this guest blog especially for us about why confronting stigma is just as important as treating mental ill health. 

Poor Mental health affects one in four people in any one year. This makes mental health common and yet it isn't perceived as so. Some physical illnesses are attributed with the same statistic and are looked upon with greater importance. However, mental health comes with its own fatalities and can destroy lives just as much as any physical illness can, and of course should be taken just as seriously.

The media doesn't always portray mental health in a realistic light either, and this negative portrayal is what most of us are led to follow and believe.

Mental health is not about murderers and white jackets. Mental health is about those who are working a nine to five day, who are more likely to be a victim than to be the attacker, and where anxiety is one of the most common mental health problems.

This is mental health, not the picture the media portrays and this is what we really need to show. 

With this lack of understanding and the fact that mental health isn't always seen in the same way as physical health, it is clear that as well as treating mental health problems we need to treat the stigma.

Some people say that the stigma is worse than the actual illness itself and this is damning.

So if you are struggling, what you must remind yourself is that your condition is not your fault; you should never blame yourself for any backlash that you get. Battling your mind every day is something that takes immense bravery and courage and is something to be proud of. Only you know what it's like and any stigma from others is highly likely to be from a lack of understanding and education. You should do your best to ignore it; even though I know this can be very hard.

The journey of mental health is one that is really difficult even for some of your closest to understand. But, now is the time to surround yourself with positive people;those who are willing to understand, to get you onto the road to recovery. Never feel ashamed for reaching out or asking for help; there are many counsellors, friends, family members, charities and doctors who are willing to support you.

You can read Amy's blog and follow her on Twitter

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