Mental illness is a particularly challenging condition to live with each and every day. More often than not, those who suffer from some form of mental illness will be blamed for their condition, insulted, or been simply labeled as moody, erratic, or difficult to deal with.
The negative stigma surrounding mental health has always been there, and unfortunately, this can cause victims to feel ashamed or completely out of control, which can only exacerbate problems.
Thankfully, as we as a society continue to improve our awareness, mental health stigma is currently being fought on many fronts. Nevertheless, we as a society shouldn’t rest until mental health stigma has been completely eradicated.
Courtesy of the Lehigh Center for Clinical Research, please consider these five ways that you can join the fight against mental health stigma.
Always Speak Openly About Mental Health
The best way to prevent stigma of anything, is by continuing the conversation about it. Speaking openly about mental health will automatically raise awareness of it simply by interacting with others around you.
Eventually, the fear and uncertainty that serves as the root of mental health stigma will be washed away. Even simple acts like interacting with others on social media about your illness or the illness of someone you love can make a difference
Educate Yourself and Others
If you or someone you know has lived with mental health issues, it’s important that you get as informed as possible about symptoms, underlying causes, and ways to treat them.
In doing so, you will be better equipped to teach and educate others about mental health and how it truly affects people.
Even if you don’t have first-hand experience with mental illness, you should always be willing to show empathy and compassion to those that do. In fact, you may be surprised how much a calm, non-judgemental, and friendly voice can do for someone who is struggling with depression, anxiety, and similar disorders.
Simple affection, like a hug or a comforting touch can also make a world of difference to those who may otherwise feel lonely and isolated from the rest of society. Never forget the humanity of those who are suffering.
Encourage Equality Between Physical and Mental Illness
The unfortunate reality for many of us is that if we can not physically see or feel the cause of an illness, we can often overlook it as non-serious or psychological. It’s important to remember that this is simply not true.
Many mental illnesses can be just as serious and life-threatening (if not more so) than physical diseases like diabetes, cancer, and heart disease, yet society as a whole typically does not view it in this light.
Whenever you can, you should do your best to remind yourself and others that mental health disorders are very real and require very real treatment. You can do this by donating to certain causes, keeping the conversation alive, and thinking twice about making comments and using certain language.
Be Honest About Treatment
As is the case for many diseases both physical and mental, treatment can require significant time and resources. For many mental health disorders, therapy and psychiatry have proven effective.
As such, you should never be ashamed of being honest about seeing a mental health professional. In fact, you can actually do a world of good by sharing your experiences with others. One great way to do this is by participating in a research study.
At Lehigh Center for Clinical Research, our staff works extremely diligently with active mental health patients and others in order to develop future medications and treatment plans that can literally save lives.
If you’d like to be a part of a clinical research study at LCCR today, don’t hesitate to contact us at your earliest convenience. Our friendly, understanding, and accommodating staff will be sure to fully educate you about the many different ways you can help.