Stop the Stigma of Mental Disorders

Illustration by Mathew Hupp / el Don

Nearly 20 percent of Americans live with at least one mental disorder, according to the National Alliance of Mental Illness.

Far too often, these afflictions do not come alone, like depression with anxiety or schizophrenia with bipolar disorder.

In many places in the world the negativity surrounding psychological issues is a crippling problem that prevents people from seeking help. But coping with these problems in isolation only strengthens the effects of them.

This forces people with mental illnesses to struggle alone, all while masking their pain to avoid being shamed. The stigmas they face are all rooted in ignorance, stereotypes and apathy, and ultimately keep people from getting the proper treatment.

This makes coping more difficult and only encourages others to remain ignorant to the severity.

However, most mental illnesses are actually very treatable; therapy and the right medications offer people the opportunity to live satisfying and fulfilling lives.

You can help end the stigma.

Begin by educating yourself and learn about the different disorders and the signs and symptoms.

Be open to uncomfortable conversations with those who are struggling, and understand how to help them.

Show empathy and compassion. Be their social and emotional support system. Take time to listen.

Most importantly, know that mental illness is treatable. We need to engage ourselves in the truths about psychological disorders because ignorance is an injustice to those who live with them every day.

 

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