Reducing the stigma of mental illness by spreading awareness
Reducing the stigma of mental illness by spreading awareness and challenging prejudice
In the past, mental illness has had a large stigma surrounding it. People were unaware of different conditions that existed and didn’t know how to treat or manage them. This often resulted in individuals being secluded from society or undergoing treatments that weren’t actually beneficial to them or their condition.
Thankfully, science, medicine, and society have come a long way, and we now have a better understanding of different conditions, how prevalent they can be, how to best manage them, how to best treat them, and so much more. But we still have a long way to go, especially when it comes to our understanding of autism diagnosis and neurodiversity.
Certain levels of stigma still exist within certain elements of society. That is clear. It’s important to know that stigma around mental illness doesn’t have to exist at all, but it does. Even so, you and I can do plenty of things to help this journey along in the right direction. Here are some practical steps you can take to help!
Learn about mental illness
Firstly, educating yourself more on various mental illness conditions is a good idea. Knowing more about the subject will always improve things. Not only for individuals experiencing certain conditions or symptoms but for you too, as you can feel more aware and understanding when engaging with others.
There are plenty of resources out there that can help you. This can range from pamphlets or leaflets to books, talking to mental health non-profits, and respectfully talking to friends who have, or have had, mental illness.
Read more: Quotes about mental health stigma
Spread awareness and acceptance of mental illness
The more people openly engage in conversation about mental illness, the more aware people will become of different conditions and how they affect different people.
This can help with understanding and ensure that more people can accommodate the needs of those with mental illness conditions. There are countless ways to go about spreading awareness of different mental illness conditions.
If you experience a condition yourself, you could talk about it with loved ones, friends, family, or colleagues to help them. They, in turn, can then spread awareness further to their own circles.
You can also use cues to start conversations about mental health. You can wear t-shirts with slogans, like a neurodivergent t-shirt, or we found these water bottle stickers that you could have created and attached to your own belongings.
Mental illness is nothing to be ashamed of, but stigma and bias shame us all.
Challenge the prejudice surrounding mental illness
If you are exposed to or witness any incidents, situations, or scenarios where you have noticed prejudice against individuals with mental illness, it is important that you speak out and challenge this.
Whether it’s online, in conversation, something institutional or simply something you see in public. Sure, it can be difficult to confront or challenge people on these matters - especially if you don’t know them at all, or if they’re close to you. We know that awkward conversations about sensitive topics are never easy. But it is important to speak out.
Sometimes, people are simply ignorant and need more information. Sometimes, people need to realise that their views aren’t going to be silently accepted by everyone. Of course, do not put yourself in dangerous situations.
Reducing the stigma of mental illness starts with just a few steps. Hopefully, if follow these ones. you will be able to constructively engage with other people and help reduce the stigma of mental illness for everyone’s benefit.
We know that mental illness is not something that happens to other people. It touches us all. Why, then, is mental illness met with so much misunderstanding and fear?
Jessica White describes herself as a "very private person," which is why she uses a pseudonym. Jessica holds a MA in feminist literature and for a long time wrote a successful personal mental health blog.