What One Thing Can People Do To Reduce Mental Health Stigma – Featured Article

PsySciI have recently been contacted by Marcus over at PSYSCI.CO regarding an article that he had written with the help of some of the guild’s members.  This article entitled ‘What One Thing Can People Do To Reduce Mental Health Stigma‘ asks and answers exactly what the title suggests and makes for interesting reading which very much affirms what many of us who write about mental health and mental illness feel/believe.

In his introduction to the piece the author explains….

I recently set out to ask this one question to as many mental health bloggers as I could get my hands on, in an attempt to provide a full and hopefully useful answer to the question.

And this is one area where the Mental Health Writers Guild came into play, with a number of Guild members being approached and responding accordingly.

Additionally, among the comments/responses made by members of the guild, was this comment from Mary Widdifield from Behind The Wall.

It is our responsibility to speak about mental illness openly in an effort to help those who will be diagnosed sometime in their lives. Because talking about mental illness openly is a first step toward reducing stigma, which is the first step our society must take to encourage the newly diagnosed to receive treatment.

Something which I think all our members would no doubt agree with.

I would therefore invite all Guild members to pop over and read this article and to show support.  And I am very grateful to Marcus from PSYSCI.CO for letting us know about it.





13 comments on “What One Thing Can People Do To Reduce Mental Health Stigma – Featured Article

  1. Blogging has made it much easier to start opening up and telling my family’s story. I think I get stronger every day because of it.

  2. I am having a problem with Mental Health Month this year. I keep reading about “mental health stigma”.

    I want May to be about mental wellness for everyone, not just about mental illness and its stigma. Nobody wants to be ill, and many people want to avoid illness; but addressing illness takes work, and a constructive focus is more effective than an evasive one.

    I am part of a mental health Wellness Group that is sponsored by a national charity and local organizations. We come together to maintain and improve our mental health, not to treat our mental illness. Talking about our treatments occurs, but it is not the purpose of the meetings. (No one is there with credentials to treat anyone.) I see this as an effective way to overcome stigma.

    I also address the stigma issue by “coming out” on my blog in a constructive manner. I agree that speaking out about mental illness is essential, but must be secondary to everyone working on their mental wellness.

    • I respectfully disagree.

      As long as people with mental illnesses are dying in our streets from lethal neglect there will be a difference between the worried well and the gravely disabled. One aspect of this problem that perpetuates suffering is the refusal to see mental illnesses for the life threatening disorders that they are.

      This may have something to do with the way Behaviorists use statistics regarding the treatment of adjustment and substance abuse disorders to create statistic that inflate
      “evidence based” outcomes.

      Again, I want to be clear that my disagreement is respectful. I understand the position that we must focus on wellness, and that is rightfully the focus when everyone has equal access to all of the resources we need to get and stat well.

      That includes people with chronic mental illnesses.

      • Thank you Robert for reading and responding to my comment. I agree that everyone must have access to the resources that they need.

        My mental illness destroyed my life repeatedly when I didn’t know how to respond to it as well as I now do. (I am sharing stories about this on my blog.) I have had access to dozens of professionals who used various treatments. Building on my wellness — focusing on what I can do — is the most effective treatment: the treatment that put me in a safe and comfortable place, and is teaching me how to make the most of the life that I have, within my limitations.

        Treating my mental illness as a disease was a path of unrealistic and unreasonable expectations as I struggled to overcome my ailments, tried to become “normal”, and accepted that I had a degenerative disorder.

        My life’s value is now much less related to the severity of my symptoms.

        • I’m glad to hear that you have found a path out of what I know was a confusing and painful hell. I sincerely hope that I can reach a day when my symptoms are under better control. It’s a struggle. I know that many of the people who read my blog see me as a smart and creative man and that is true. But I’m always struggling to remain present, and different forms of mental illness have different stigmas attached to them.

          A person who has depression is weak or lazy and someone with Dissociative Identity Disorder is “attention seeking” and selfish.

          It doesn’t help that the institution that is supposed to help me to learn how to manage this thing is also the source of the worst stigma.

          Thank you for responding to and understanding my position.

          • I continue to build my path as I seek someone who will renew my prescriptions for psychiatric meds. After meeting with the therapist twice, I decided not to return to the health center that I described in my blog, and am devoted to the belief that another option exists.

            I found that I can’t control my symptoms. Likewise, I can’t control the stigmas that other people hold. I find the struggles worthwhile when I work toward responding to my symptoms in a more constructive manner that includes seeing them as having positive aspects. For example, I can dwell on the sense of peace that I can find in a depression, rather than feel depressed about it; I can enjoy the perspective of a dissociative episode.

            I hope that you are enjoying your weekend.

            • Wow!..is there a community mental health system where you live…medications are important if you need them to manage symptoms.

              • Community mental health system? I don’t know what that means.

                I am decidedly trusting that something will work out. I hope that I find that the psychiatrist at the horrid Center isn’t the only one who will consider renewing my prescriptions (I cancelled my appointment with him). I hope I can persuade my physician to renew one of my prescriptions. I hope that a certain mental health center finds the psychiatrist who they are seeking so they can accept new patients. I hope that I can find a way into the nearest mental health center, which closed to new patients years ago. I hope that I get to the top of one of the waiting lists that I’m on.

                As much as I hate being on meds, two work well for me. I don’t like running out of the one, but have been trying to find a psychiatrist since the Fall. The one who I enjoyed working with only works with kids now.

                Thanks for your concern.

                • In san francisco you can still use the carcass of our community mental health system which used to be national to get medications if you are between doctors.

                  Many people who reply on public services find themselves without doctors. All the best to you. You are in my thoughts.

  3. I love what this blog is about and I want to help speak out against the stigma in mental health. Mental illness runs rampant in my family. I have empathy for anyone suffering from a mental illness. I am a nurse and I have seen first hand how a mental health diagnosis on a patient’s health history can change the course of healthcare and attitude of the nurses and caregivers. The treatment of patients and attitudes of these healthcare professionals is disheartening. I am ashamed of my fellow colleagues and anyone who negatively slams mental illness. Would love to become a member of the guild!

    • Hi unbreakable,

      Many thanks for getting in touch and letting me know about your site “This Is Me – Confessions”. It is great to see your passion and hear of your commitment.

      I am pleased to be able to tell you that I have just popped over and visited the site and I am more than happy to include the site “This Is Me – Confessions” in our Guild Members list and in fact have just done exactly that. So welcome!

      Please feel free to copy the member’s logo from that page and to display it on your site/blog if you wish to. As a member you are entitled to 🙂
      You are also very welcome to join in any competitions that are run and to give out the Warrior Child Award to any blogger whom you feel is deserving of it. You will find details of that award on its own page within the navigation bar.

      I should perhaps mention that due to many bloggers wishing to remain anonymous as a result of the stigma that still remains in respect of poor mental health and mental illness, membership to the Guild is awarded to the site/blog and not the blogger or site owner. The only ways in which this is relevant is that it means that…

      a) Guild membership does not (and therefore cannot be used to) imply or infer credibility to the person only to the site/blog, and then only in as much as the site/blog is seen to have a link to, or content concerning, the field of mental health and mental illness. Acceptance into Guild membership does not therefore infer or imply that the Guild endorses any content within than site/blog. Additionally,

      b) should you have or wish to start a further blog or blogs, membership of the Guild does not automatically transfer to that or those blogs and they must also be approved for membership.

      I think that about covers it so all that remains for me to say is that if I can be of any help please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me. And again “welcome to our little band of bloggers!”

      Kind Regards and God bless you.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: