More than 42 million adults in the United States live with some type of mental illness – that’s about 1 in every 5 people! Whether it is depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), mental illness is a medical diagnosis that should be taken seriously. Many of those who have never experienced mental illness do not understand these disorders and at times do not take them seriously. The current stigma surrounding mental illness negatively impacts those living with them and it’s important we do what we can to try and table that stigma.
Here are some things you can do to end the stigma against mental health:
- Change your language: It is insensitive to throw around derogatory words directed to people suffering from mental health issues. By doing so you are adding to the stigma surrounding mental health. Change your language and encourage others to do the same. You would not want someone using this type of language to describe you.
- Show compassion: One of the most important things you can do is show compassion and try to understand that people living with mental health disorders are dealing with different challenges. If you can show that you have a desire to understand what they go through, it can make a significant difference in how you view one another. Displaying love and respect towards everyone, including those with a mental illness, is what’s most important.
- Educate one another: If you want to be compassionate and empathetic, you need to seek out information about mental illness. Furthermore, you should respectfully challenge others when you believe they are perpetuating stereotypes. Instead of taking the back seat, inform them.
- Push against stigmas in the media: In the media and on social media, people with mental illness are portrayed in a negative way. When you see this in articles, social groups and by politicians, it is your job get the story straight. Write a letter and respond online to those that blame the mentally ill in order to deflect the real issues.
- Openly speak about mental illness: Whether it is you or a friend, or a family member, it is important to speak about mental illness. Speak about the struggles, the transitions, the tough days and the brighter days. Mental illness is very common and yet it seems to be a secret. Don’t shy away from the topic.
If you are struggling from any mental health issues, we are currently enrolling volunteers for studies like OCD, Depression, Bipolar Depression and more. Click the link below to see a list of studies we are currently enrolling in and if you may be interested in any of them.