Losing the Stigma: Why Mental Health is SO Important
In honor of Mental Health Month, we want to talk about mental health stigma. A stigma happens when something or someone is seen in a negative way by society. When it comes to mental health in the United States, many people hold a stigma. Social stigma can create a barrier to seeking help for mental health because some may feel embarrassed, different, and ignored. These people often choose not to seek the help they need.
Stigma against mental health began from association with demonic/spiritual possession. These stigmas have led some people to think of mental health as something “different” and some may avoid seeking help. More than HALF of people with mental illnesses never receive help for their disorders and stigmas play a factor in this.
Mental health extends beyond diagnosable disorders such as anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, OCD, autism, and ADHD. When it comes down to it, your brain is an organ in your body, and its health is just as important as any other part like your heart or lungs. That’s why it is essential to take care of your mental health, whether that means treating yourself to a spa day to relieve stress, talking to a counselor, or taking prescribed medications to treat a diagnosed condition. Everyone experiences mental health differently, and it’s not good compare your journey, so remember to be patient with yourself.
It is challenging to breakdown stigma. Here are some ways you can combat stigma around mental health:
Speak openly about it and be honest about your experience.
- For example: sharing on social media, talking about it with people you are close to, and showing support to those in your life who are suffering. Whether you are considering seeing a counselor, currently in therapy, taking medication, or even struggling, it is ok to talk about it.
Educate yourself and others.
- Take the time to learn, visit the National Alliance on Mental Health Illness’ website to learn, and listen to others’ experiences. Respond to misconceptions and negative talk by sharing what you know.
Be conscious of language.
- Words matter. Remind people. It is never a good idea to jump to conclusions and judge someone based off how they struggle. You may not see their condition as difficult, but everyone has a different load they can handle and experiences things in a unique way. For example, someone who is diagnosed with anxiety and depression will experience it differently than someone with the same diagnosis because they have different symptoms or severities. Step back and think about the language you use.
Show compassion. Encourage equality.
- In the United States, nearly one in five adults experiences mental illness in their life. Even if your experiences are different or you don’t experience mental health problems, it’s important to understand if someone has a mental illness or is struggling with mental health, it does not mean they are unrelatable or odd.
Choose empowerment over shame.
The only way to stop stigma is through conversation. Try to apply these to your daily conversations from makeitok.org:
|DO SAY||DON’T SAY|
|“Thanks for opening up to me."||“It could be worse.”|
|"Is there anything I can do to help?"||“Just deal with it.”|
|“How can I help.”||“Snap out of it.”|
|“Thanks for sharing.”||“Everyone feels that way sometimes.”|
|"I'm sorry to hear that. It must be tough."||“You brought this on yourself.”|
|"I'm here for you when you need me."||“We’ve all been there.”|
|“I can’t imagine what you’re going through.”||“You’ve got to pull yourself together.”|
|“How are you feeling today.”||“Maybe try thinking happier thoughts.”|
|“I see your pain and acknowledge it.”||“Have you tried exercising/traveling/etc.”|
|“I love you.”||“Suck it up.”|
Always remember to try to extend the same compassion to yourself that you would give to others. You deserve to take care of yourself and to receive care. It is never too little or too much to talk to someone like a counselor/therapist, and you are not alone.
Friday Health Plans is extremely proud to offer robust mental health benefits options to our members. Be sure to take advantage of the following:
Most Friday plans offer unlimited $0 mental health counseling. Use our mental health resources page to find a therapist near you.
All Friday members can also use the Teledoc app for $0 virtual counseling sessions. Members can speak with a counselor 24/7 by phone or video.
Many Friday plans offer thousands of $0 generic prescriptions. Search here to see what’s covered in your Friday health plan.
Be sure to double-check your coverage on your member portal. At Friday, we value your mental health and we’re here to make the journey a little easier. Together, we can help end the stigma and ensure everyone gets the care they need.
Have any questions or concerns? Contact our Care Crew for help! We are here for you.