Most people who live with mental illness have, at some point, been blamed for their condition. They’ve been called names. Their symptoms have been referred to as “a phase” or something they can control “if they only tried.” They have been illegally discriminated against, with no justice. This is the unwieldy power that stigma holds.
Stigma causes people to feel ashamed for something that is out of their control. Worst of all, stigma prevents people from seeking the help they need. For a group of people who already carry such a heavy burden, stigma is an unacceptable addition to their pain. And while stigma has reduced in recent years, the pace of progress has not been quick enough.
All of us in the mental health community
- Talk openly about mental Illness
- Educate yourself and others, sharing your own story if comfortable
- Be conscious of the everyday language you use and their underlying implications for mental health
- Encourage equality between physical and mental illness
- Show compassion for those with mental illness
- Choose empowerment over shame
- Be honest about treatment
- Let the media know when they’re being stigmatizing
- Don’t harbor self-stigma
This is what our collective voice sounds like. It sounds like bravery, strength
Read more at NAMI.org.