5 Ways You Can Help Destigmatize Mental Health Treatment
May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and it is time to talk about something challenging for many people: getting rid of the negative feelings (or stigma) surrounding getting mental health treatment. It is understandable to think that wanting to seek help means admitting defeat, but that could not be further from the truth. In fact, it takes strength and courage to recognize
that your current patterns are not serving you and to take the necessary steps toward a better, healthier future. However, the negative stigma surrounding mental health treatment can make it difficult for some people to take that first step. To help make it more normalized and more widespread, we must get rid of the negative stigma surrounding mental health treatment. Here are some ways that you can help encourage getting rid of the negative stigma in your day-to-day life:
Advocate for mental health resources in your community, workplace, or school. One of the biggest parts of getting help for problems with your mental health is knowing where to go. By spreading awareness about where to find help, we can equip more people with the information they need to get started on their journey to healing.
Challenge stigmatizing attitudes and beliefs when you see them, whether it be online or in person. When you hear people sharing negative judgments about someone getting help with mental illness, it is important you speak up. Getting help for mental health problems is no different than seeking help for physical health and is often just as important. Another example of this could be someone referring to someone else as “crazy” or “nuts.” This is not only dismissive of their struggle, but these are terms that have often been associated negatively with mental illness for decades. It can be difficult to confront stigmatizing attitudes and beliefs, whether online or in-person. However, speaking up can make a difference in breaking down barriers and creating a more inclusive society.
Share your own experiences with mental health challenges and how seeking help has positively impacted your life. Sharing your own experiences shows people that seeking help can be a realistic option and that it is effective. Most importantly, it shows them they are not alone in wanting to seek help.
Encourage open and honest conversations about mental health and create a safe space for people to share their experiences without fear of judgment. Creating a safe space for open and honest conversations about mental health is another crucial step toward ending the stigma. By being open and accepting of others' experiences, we can help people feel more comfortable seeking help and discussing mental health without fear of judgment.
Support friends, family members, or colleagues who are struggling with mental health challenges by listening, offering encouragement, and connecting them with resources. If someone you know struggles with mental health challenges, offering your support can make all the difference. Simply listening, encouraging, and connecting them with resources can be incredibly helpful. Let them know that their feelings are valid and that you are there to support them on their journey toward healing.
It is important to acknowledge that seeking help is a sign of strength, not weakness, and can lead to more life satisfaction and positive changes. To encourage more people to seek help, we must work together to end the negative stigma surrounding mental health treatment. By advocating for mental health resources, challenging stigmatizing attitudes, sharing our own experiences, creating safe spaces for open and honest conversations, and supporting those who are struggling, we can make a difference. It may not be an easy or quick process, but the benefits of destigmatizing mental health care are significant and far-reaching. Let us all do our part to promote mental health awareness and make seeking help a more normalized and accepted part of our society.