Mentally ill patients are often stigmatized. This stigma can be a social stigma or stigma that the patient has about their disease. In this blog, we’ll discuss the different stigmas and try to dispel the myths surrounding them.
Mental illness refers to any condition that negatively impacts one’s mood, behaviors, and thinking processes. This definition stretches to include a large group of illnesses that fall within the category. Common mental health disorders include:
The above list comprises many mental illness diagnoses, but certainly not all. View a more extensive list of mental illness and treatment and support on the National Alliance on Mental Illness’s website.
If you are someone you love is suffering from a mental illness, it is important to remember that mental illness is a disease that takes the form of a brain disorder. Society doesn’t blame diabetes on the patient, but sometimes can and does blame mentally ill patients for their disorders.
Society stigmatizes mental illness for many reasons. This social stigma stems from the belief that a mentally ill patient may be dangerous, unpredictable, or different. What’s more, some members of society view mental illness as a weakness and blame the patient for not being able to control their symptoms and “snap out of it.” Were that not enough, society also views substance abusers as degenerates and writes them off before
offering the treatment that often changes their lives and creates valuable and participating members of society.
The mental health stigma is far-reaching, and teens especially feel stigmatized by friends, family members, and teachers. They are an especially vulnerable segment of the population because their brains are not fully developed. In truth, the brain doesn’t stop developing until the age of 25. The combination of battling mental illness and feeling stigmatized is dangerous. Handling a disease at a young age and feeling ridiculed or blamed, can lead to suicidal ideations or actions. Mentally ill teens need treatment for their illness and the freedom to believe they have just as much a right to that treatment as their friend who is suffering from a broken arm.
Breakthrough Recovery Outreach specializes in treating teens who have a mental illness, including substance abuse. Teens learn about their disease and how to personally destigmatize it, and not to stigmatize themselves, counseled by licensed therapists, and offered resources that include prescriptive intervention.
If you or someone you know is feeling suicidal, help is available through the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (800-273-8255).
Teens are not the only members of society that suffer from mental health stigmatization. Adults, also, often feel stigmatized in the workplace, socially, at home, internally, and even in the media. Think about the media coverage you’ve seen about celebrities suffering from mental illness. They are photographed looking unkempt, acting out of control, and news stories imply they are crazy, rather than sick.
Mental illness is also a trigger for low self-esteem. Patients stigmatize themselves, blame themselves, and often are too embarrassed or ashamed to get treatment. Since mental illness and substance abuse can lead to strained relationships, patients often blame themselves and think poorly of themselves.
The good news is that self-esteem can improve through therapy, treatment, cognitive behavioral therapy and exercises that help nurture self-worth.
Social and personal stigmas about mental illness and ill-founded. They are harmful, discriminatory, and hurtful. Let’s smash the stigma and validate mental illness.
Validation for the Mentally Ill
Breakthrough Recovery Outreach offers a wealth of therapeutic services to help patients who have mental illness and substance abuse conditions. Supportive services include individual counseling, family counseling, yoga, nutrition, mindfulness, and more.
If you, a family member, or someone you love is struggling with anxiety, depression, bipolar, substance abuse, or another mental health disorder, Breakthrough Recovery Outreach is committed to prioritizing care. We’re just a phone call away – (770) 493-7750.