In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month,
I’m going to share some research with you about a topic that’s very important to me. I think this topic will help shed insights into the millions of people that we may know, work with, live with or simply live among who suffer with Mental illnesses. Those that suffer daily, but hide their illness and the battle within themself because of the reasons we will discuss. My hope is that we can come together and help share this information to the community in hopes we can begin to support the large group of people living with a Mental Illness.
My own experiences is just one reason I’ve researched this topic endlessly. Mental Health is a topic I am passionate about and one I find so much value in. My own experiences are uncomfortable to talk about and a struggle I fight everyday, but I believe that shedding light on this stigma and the benefit of providing more understanding on the Mental Health is worth my moment of vulnerability. More importantly, I’ll do whatever I can, including discussing one of my own Mental Health illness in hope it helps the outsiders of the Menal Health community open their mind to the insights discussed throughout this post.
One illness I was diagnosed with and continue to struggle with is a severe form of generalized anxiety disorder and social anxiety which surprises people since I’m relatively outgoing. Because I don’t act like what people expect, most people think I am making it up. But being (or faking to be ) outgoing doesn’t stop me from getting paralyzed by thinking about all of the ‘what ifs.’ I fight harder than ever to appear outgoing so that I am not judged or considered ‘weird’. However, the truth is, I’m a champion of over thinking which than causes a heartbeat that goes so fast I sweat in a cold room. These anxiety disorders also make me become a over-thinker with thoughts that fill my mind at 100 mph from start to finish each day. Each day I think ‘if this happens, then this will happen, and then this will happen…until I end up exhausted and alone. it feels like a never-ending battle. This experience is mild compared to others I know, but Reading, Researching and Sharing these Mental Health effects below are just a few ways that you and I can better help our Mental Health community feel less uncomfortable and more understood.
First, understanding Stigma and discrimination:
People with Mental Illness are discriminated against in a number of different areas. Research found that the stigma surrounding Mental Health causes those who actually suffer from Mental Illness to experience:
Loneliness and isolation for a person with a mental illness
attempts to deny they have an illness for fear of feeling rejected which is why they feel too vulnerable and fearful of people and social occasions.
a fear of admitting they have a mental illness (especially with the more severe disorders)
People with a mental illness will experience discrimination, social exclusion and negative attitudes.
I find it most saddening that the stigma directly causes those that are ill to be so self-critical that they believe “depression is something they should be able to handle themself”.
Insurance companies – making it difficult for people with a mental illness to get health insurance or life insurance
Police – being perceived as trouble-makers
Discrimination by decision makers in general
School – denied opportunities in schools or labelled as ‘kids with problem behaviours’
Employers/potential employers – not being offered employment or taken advantage of in the workplace
Families – not taking responsibility for their family member with a mental illness, rejecting them, making them feel to blame for their condition – “They’re too much work!”
Media – misrepresented in the media, for example, mental illness is often associated with violence
- Community – being shunned, suffering verbal and physical abuse
It’s no secret that America continues to raise awareness on Mental Health. From the negative community attitude to the types of exclusion from friends, family, school and society in general; Millions of people fight the Mental Health battle with little support and hardly effective resources available.
MY HOPE is that together we can raise awareness and provide more support for the Mental Health community..
Share your support
join the movement
contribute in any way that helps end Mental Health stigma and discrimination.