The Importance of Dissolving Stigmas Surrounding Mental Health Disorders
by Samantha Davis
May 13th started off Mental Health Awareness Week. The topic of mental health is not necessarily the easiest to discuss; however, doing so could positively affect many areas—and reduce the level of stigma. We could encourage more people to seek help for their pain, instead of having the misconception that only ‘crazy’ people need counseling. It could begin to enlighten the population as to how to accept and even empathize with those who suffer from mental health issues.
There are many individuals who have suffered traumatic experiences or even experience symptoms of a mental health disorder that don’t seek help. There is a certain stigma surrounding things like counseling or the use of suicide hotlines—that you only need them if you are ‘ill’ and many people feel that they don’t fit the bill. There is nothing wrong with you just because you’re in need of mental health services. If anything, it is just a step in the right direction of making you even better!
Another dangerous assumption is that if someone is functioning ‘normally’, then, even if they disclose their suffering, there “must not be anything wrong with them.” This thought process further isolates individuals with mental health disorders. When a loved one has this mentality, the person suffering can feel as if their pain doesn’t matter and that no one cares (which snowballs into, “well then, why should I”?).
Even if you don’t fully understand a person’s disorder, telling them that what they are experiencing is not real or relevant only makes them feel worse.
If you are a person that suffers from MHD and someone close to you isn’t being supportive or worse, they are undermining your condition, it is imperative to find healthy support immediately.
MHD are not always looked at as actual health disorders, and hence, get neglected. If a person were to break a limb, they would immediately seek medical attention. However, if they were to have a mental breakdown, the feeling of urgency to do so wouldn’t be the same. Ironically enough, we neglect our central command—our body and life’s most important mechanism—the mind. Everything starts there. Healing the mind, learning how to control your thoughts, and performing healthy habits improve the quality of life.
Bringing awareness to MHD has the potential to improve lives all over the world. Awareness is only the first step. The true change will come when more people become enlightened on MHD, whether an individual suffers from symptoms or not. If you do know someone who could possibly benefit from mental health services, always encourage them to reach out and support them the best way you can.
About the Author
My name is Samantha. I am a woman of many hats. I am a mother, blogger and vlogger, freelance writer, and entrepreneur. Writing has always been a passion of mine, since about the 4th grade. If I’m not working or typing away, I am busy with my 3 year old boy who keeps me on my toes.
My favorite phrase is, ‘who needs cardio when you have a toddler’! Health and wellness are not only hobbies of mine, but have become a way of life. Changing my mentality and habits have greatly changed my life for the better. I aspire to help others who may be struggling in similar areas to do the same which is why I started my blog and business. Everyone can achieve success, no matter what that definition is, and feel great while doing it!
You can read Samantha’s “Mom-Preneur Life” column on the 3rd Thursday each month here at Mustard Seed Sentinel.