Even though everyone has mental health and help with mental wellness is for everyone, many people don’t discuss mental health or seek help due to stigma—negative attitudes or beliefs about people with mental health issues. On this World Mental Health Day, we can help promote a stigma-free culture by:
- Being informed about mental health and mental health issues.
- Having a conversation with others about mental health, such as sharing facts and personal experiences.
- Using people-first language to emphasize that a person is not a disorder. Instead of using a mental health disorder as an adjective (e.g., “He is bipolar”), try, “He has bipolar disorder.”
- Normalizing mental health treatment as a part of health care.
- Recognizing self-stigma, which is holding negative attitudes or beliefs about oneself. If you feel shame for having a mental health issue, the Mayo Clinic offers ways to overcome and cope with stigma.
“Mental illnesses don’t define us.”
We invited one of our employees to share her story. Emmy Carpenter, Communication and Design Specialist, is diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and fights stigma by sharing her experience with others:
“I share my experience with mental illness so others who may be struggling know they aren’t alone and that mental illnesses don’t define us. My ‘Aha!’ moment was when I posted about my experience with OCD on social media and received a message from someone who may have been experiencing symptoms of OCD. That’s when I knew that being open about mental health can open a door for others.
I think it’s important for people to be informed about mental health disorders so they can understand what their loved ones, colleagues, and community members experience and how to support them. I also think it’s important for people with mental health disorders to share their stories and ask for the support they need.”
Stigma, Prejudice and Discrimination Against People with Mental Illness. (n.d.). Psychiatry.org. Retrieved September 16, 2022, from https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/stigma-and-discrimination