Mental health conditions are common.

So common in fact, the person next to you may have one and you not even know it. Part of the reason people don’t admit to having a mental illness is because of the debilitating effects of it. The acts of simply getting out of bed and getting dressed can be hard to explain to someone who doesn’t face the daily challenges of feeling self defeated.

Another consideration is how society both views and treats people who suffer. Whether it’s PTSD, anxiety, depression, or some other mental illness, many find it hard to view either of these conditions as a legitimate medical or psychological issue. PTSD might get a sincere nod if it’s coming from an ex military person (and it should) but many others suffer from PTSD simply from being in stressful or traumatizing situations.

How is stigma defined?

Stigma noun (disapproval)
• a mark of disgrace associated with a particular circumstance, quality, or person. (“the stigma of mental disorder”);
• a strong lack of respect for a person or a group of people- a bad opinion of them because society does not approve of them.

How do we stop the stigma?

First, we stop the feelings of self-defeat by eliminating the negative words we tell ourselves. It’s okay to say “I’m not okay.”

It’s okay to say I AM NOT OKAY

We also have to find ways to help society get better at dealing with mental health issues by making mental health dialogue a part of wellness conversations.

When we look at our situations and admit when we have a problem and face those issues head-on both at home and at work, we can begin to help ourselves and others generate healthier solutions about how to  deal with each issue individually instead of lumping all mental health issues together.

As we generate better dialogue within families, communities, and company’s the response to and understanding of mental health changes within society and becomes healthier. It is no longer generic in nature, instead conversations are more adaptive and actions are proactive instead of reactive – we begin to slowly see communication and mislabeling and misidentifying mental health crises minimized, and slowly mental health stigma is lessened. We can do this, one conversation at a time, especially the one we tell ourselves!

The next time you want to stay in bed all day, order a pizza and go without a bath – do it. But the day after that, GET UP, CLEAN UP, & GET MOVING!

Mental health matters. Join the conversation. Lets eradicate the stigma.