According to the CDC, Mental health stigma can be defined as prejudice, avoidance or rejection that a person feels from themselves or from others because of their mental health concern.
The harm of mental health stigma:
Stigma can prevent people from seeking help, from getting help when needed or not getting the kind of help a person needs. This can have devastating consequences for individuals and the surrounding community.
Many forms of treatment including medications healthy lifestyle habits counseling and other options are available.
A common problem
- 1 in 4 people have a mental health condition, and 1 in 2 US adults will experience a mental health condition at some point in their lives, according to the Centers for disease control.
- Mental health concerns can get completely better somewhat better unchanged or in some cases, worsen; and can occur to people from all walks of life.
- It is not a condition of the rich or poor or middle class or a certain race ethnicity or culture — a mental health condition can occur in anyone.
People with mental illness don’t always feel supported:
According to the Center for Disease control and Prevention,
- About 1 out of 2 people believe that they are sympathetic towards persons with mental illness,
- But only 1 in 4 people with mental illness feel that people are sympathetic towards them.
What you can do about mental health stigma:
According to the National Alliance for Mental illness suggests 3 steps to reduce mental health stigma:
- Step 1: Educate yourself and others about mental illness.
A good resource is National alliance for mental illness (nami.org) and National Institute for Mental Health (http://www.nimh.nih.gov/index.shtml).
- Step 2: See the person not the illness. Getting to know the person and their
story and treating them kindly can be helpful.
- Step 3: Advocate for mental health by pushing for better policies, taking part in community programs that promote mental health.
Take the stigma free pledge: http://www.nami.org/stigma
Learn more about stigma related to mental illness: http://www.fccmh.org/resources/docs/MentalIllnessandStigma.pdf
Resources for mental health treatment:
- Office of Student Life’s counseling and consultation service: http://www.ccs.ohio-state.edu/
- OSU Stress and Anxiety disorders Clinic ( psy.ohio-state.edu/ )
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1800-273-8255
- NAMI Support page: http://www.nami.org/Find-Support
Dr. R. Ryan Patel, DO FAPA, is a psychiatrist treating OSU students and their families using counseling, medications and healthy lifestyle habits at OSU’s Counseling and Consultation Service. He is also author of the blog: u.osu.edu/emotionalfitness.