The Stigma Surrounding Mental Health and Mental Illness

Our mental health allows us to function on a daily basis by dealing with emotions, feelings and thought process.  Mental illness affects the above-mentioned to the point we can’t cope with what might be simple things we do in life or going out in public. Some of these illnesses are so debilitating, people can receive Social Security Disability Benefits for them. Some types of mental illness are:

  • Depression
  • ADHD/Autism
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Eating Disorders
  • Addiction or substance abuse
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Suicide

Those are only a few amongst thousands of “diagnoses” for mental illness. Mental illness affects a whopping amount of individuals sometime in their lives. As for myself, I’d probably be diagnosed as bat-shit nuts. Although I prefer the term of being neuro-diverse. (lol) That’s probably got you all wondering, hey?  Ok…back to blogging now. Of all the diseases and illnesses out there – mental illness seems to have the most negative stigma attached to it. The main purpose of this blog post isn’t about mental illness as a whole–that’s way too complex an issue. This blog is about how the stigma hurts and, more importantly, ways to help stop it.

How Stigma (of any kind) Can Hurt

Stigma can be a very hurtful thing. Many individuals – in order to avoid being placed in a certain category or under a certain stigma – will not discuss their disability or illness. Individuals that have a diagnosed mental illness may be afraid to share the information with their loved ones or friends. They may isolate themselves from society. Then there are those who are blessedly not able to understand how this stigma affects them. For those of us that have a cognitively disabled loved one, we see the effects. We see the discrimination in peer groups or social activities, jobs, or living arrangements. We see the bullying – both verbal and physical. Many people feel that discrimination is gone. It. Is. NOT. It’s still very prevalent in our world. RJ and I deal with it nearly every time we go out in public. I remember when RJ was an infant and I was searching for answers, one of his therapists commented to me it might be a blessing if he were cognitively disabled enough to not understand his differences. I didn’t understand it then, but I sure do now.

Stopping the Stigma

Stopping the stigma around mental illness will probably never happen. Negative stigmas will probably never stop. But we can and should do something to at least try to lessen it. I found some great information on the Mayo Clinic website, as well as The National Alliance on Mental Illness website. I hope that these pages will offer you some insight on ways to help stop the stigma revolving around mental illness. Neurodiversity ROCKS!!!




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