Mental health is an instrumental part of our lives, and taking care of it is imperative to our overall well being. And in all honesty, the world has come a long way in terms of shedding light on the importance of taking care of our mental health. Whether through meditation and yoga, or adopting healthy self-care routines, more people now know that mental health is important. However, even though there is more awareness surrounding mental health, we still have a long way when it comes to mental illness and the stigma surrounding it.
Breaking the stigma surrounding mental illness is not only pivotal but also necessary to save lives. According to experts, early intervention yields much better results especially for students. And that is precisely why we need to put more into diminishing the stigma so people can speak up about their mental health struggles.
So the question is, how can we as individuals help in breaking the stigma around mental illness?
Speak up and talk openly about it
Speaking up about it means that it is real and that people are aware of how important it really is. Not only that, but being open about it might show others that there is nothing to be ashamed of. Normalizing conversation is the first step towards breaking the stigma.
Many people do not have enough knowledge about what mental illness really is, and that is why it is imperative that we educate ourselves and read about it. Learning about mental illness means that we acknowledge that it is a real illness and it deserves our attention.
Be aware of the language you use
Being mindful of the words we use is key to avoid belittling mental illness. Many people tend to use mental illnesses as an adjective to describe normal situations, which indirectly contributes to the stigma and belittles mental illness.
When we really think about it, we all want to feel supported, accepted and loved at the end of the day. And people suffering from a mental illness might have difficulties feeling these emotions, let alone when there is a stigma holding them hostage. That is why it is instrumental to show support and love to those who need it. Knowing that they are accepted and supported will help normalize the conversation and encourage them to seek help.
Normalize therapy and medication
Therapy is important to improve our mental and emotional well being, and many go to therapy regardless of whether they suffer from a mental illness or not. Nevertheless, so much shame and embarrassment comes with admitting that you go to therapy or take some kind of medication. What many fail to see is that the same way physical illnesses have to be treated, mental illnesses should also be treated. And there is nothing shameful about trying to treat your illness.
Make mental health as important as physical health
Health is health. Regardless of whether you suffer from a mental or physical illness, both are valid and are equally as important. And saying otherwise belittles the struggles of those suffering from a mental illness and contributes to the stigma.
“I pray for the day where we won’t have to call it “mental” and “physical” health and we can call it “health.”” - Dr. Saliha Afridi, Psychologist
Mental health and illness are nothing to be ashamed of, and the stigma surrounding them should be diminished in order to be able to move towards a better and healthier society. By collectively working together, we can save lives and help those in need. So let us get to it!
© 2000 - 2021 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)