Stigma is: prejudiced negative beliefs based on stereotypes of the mentally ill.
What can you do?
Take a stand to transform discrimination of mental illness by facing stigma head on.
4 ways to defeat stigma:
- Be supportive.
It is hard to seek help for anyone who’s struggling just to get through the day. Don’t place blame. Keep it simple and factual: for example, say to yourself, she is learning how to manage a mental illness. Remember that people do get better with treatment.
- Stop using degrading language.
Say the truth and respect the person: She has bipolar disorder. She has depression. Stop using words that are not helpful.
- Get the facts.
Mental illness is common, “about 25% of all U.S. adults have a mental illness.” https://www.cdc.gov/mentalhealthsurveillance/fact_sheet.html Show others the dignity and respect that you would like if it happened to you.
- Share your own experience of mental health struggle.
Being open about your own struggles with mental/emotional health “normalizes” mental illness. When you are honest about your experience, it gives others permission & courage to speak up and seek help, too.
If you are struggling:
To get help, contact a trained professional. If you don’t know where to start, please look at Postpartum Support International and the National Institute for Mental Health, NAMI. In the Twin Cities area, contact Psychology and Healing Associates, home of the Postpartum Counseling Center 612-296-3800.