How we think and talk about mental health has an influence on how people are cared for, how they access educational and health care resources. Today, of the one-in-four people living with a mental illness, fewer than half with serious illnesses seek treatment; and those who do expend considerable energy keeping their treatment a secret.
As an ally for mental health, you can help change this statistic by working to improve how mental illnesses are viewed in your community.
The Impact of Stigma
- More than 100 Americans die each day from an opioid overdose.
- Suicide claims one death every twelve minutes.
- A quarter of the working population self-reportedly suffers from burn out.
While the vast majority of people who have mental illnesses are no more violent than anyone else, the average television viewer sees a minimum of three people with mental illnesses each week – and most of them are portrayed as violent. Such inaccurate portrayals lead people to fear those who have mental illnesses. In fact, people with mental illness are more likely to be victims than perpetrators of violent crimes.
We Need to Reframe How We Talk about Mental Health
We all experience mental health symptoms at some point in our lives. That’s why it’s important to make sure that mental health is perceived as a positive state of functioning that’s important to our overall health.
In the mental health space, you hear a lot about sharing stories to help break the stigma. By sharing stories that normalize our experiences, we can change how we talk about mental health conditions.
Joining in on campaigns like I’m the Evidence, as well as sharing our experiences on social media and in our local communities, can help generate greater momentum for community support around mental health.
To quote our national organization (Mental Health America), “Education is the first step to breaking the stigma surrounding mental health. As a culture, we often overlook the fact that without knowledge and understanding of topics ranging from common symptoms to getting treatment, individuals may find it far more difficult to share their stories.
Get educated, share your stories, show compassion, and don’t judge. Together we can change the current mental health climate.”