5 Ways You Can Help End the Stigma over Mental Health Care

5 Ways You Can Help End the Stigma over Mental Health Care

Ask about it

In the same way we wouldn’t want our family or friends to suffer from physical pain without any help, we should ensure our loved ones aren’t suffering emotionally. However, we can't help them if we do not understand how they feel. Simply asking, “How have you been feeling emotionally?” or “I know you’ve had a lot going on lately, has something been weighing on you?” You may never know what your loved ones are struggling with if you don’t ask. Let’s take care of our friends and family by not shying away from discussing difficult topics.

Post about it

Social media is an amazing tool that allows us to be connected to people around the world in an instant. Unfortunately, social media is sometimes a “highlight reel” where everyone posts the best part of their lives and tries to hide all the bad. Imagine how powerful it could be to remind your social media followers that they have value, and that it’s okay to not have it together all the time. Sharing an encouraging word or some simple tips could inspire someone to improve their health. Not sure what to post? Check out the graphics below and share them on your pages!

Recognize that mental health struggles are common.

In 2019, nearly 50 million American adults experienced mental illness. Over 10% of youth in the United States have severe major depression. Despite how common these issues are, nearly 25% of adults feel they do not have necessary mental health treatment and over 60% of youth with major depression do not receive any mental health treatment. The first step in filling this treatment gap is recognizing that mental health issues are real, common, and valid.

Source: Mental Health America. (2022). 2022 State of Mental Health in America. Mental Health America National.

Normalize getting care

If someone you know tells you they are receiving mental health treatment, try not to overwhelm them with questions or make them feel shame. Think about it like this: If someone shared with you their struggles with experiencing chronic tooth pain—and how they need to see the dentist every three months—you wouldn't be surprised because it is normal to seek that form of treatment. In the same way, seeking mental health treatment is a normal response to some difficulties. And that’s exactly how we should see mental health care: normal and necessary.

Walk the walk

If you feel that you can benefit from mental health care, seek it out! Even if you are not in crisis, a regular check-in with a counselor or therapist will not hurt, but it can help improve your well-being. Life is difficult, and we all need emotional support from time to time. As with any type of change, the best way to start addressing the stigma around mental health is by looking inward.

At the end of the day, mental health treatment is healthcare and should be viewed as such. We are better as individuals, friends, coworkers, and teammates when we make sure every part of our health is taken care of.

Mental Health Resources

National Alliance on Mental Illness Helpline 800-950-6264

Suicide & Crisis Lifeline 988

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration 1-800-662-HELP (4357)