Let's Talk About Mental Health...Let's Diminish The Stigma

By: Carly Carden, Marketing and Business Development Manager, Peace River Center

As a society, we openly discuss our physical conditions. We talk about our aches and pains, our hearts, our allergies, etc.  We discuss which medical providers we receive treatment from and even offer recommendations to our family and friends about which providers they should use. We openly discuss what medications we are on and what natural remedies work for us. With all this transparency surrounding our physical states, why do we avoid discussing our mental health? Peace River Center encourages everyone to start conversations about mental health. So, let’s talk about it:

Let’s talk about the prevalence of mental illness.  It is not as uncommon as you may think. Did you know that one in five adults are living with a mental illness and one in four families is impacted by mental illness?  Did you know that 75% of mental illness presents itself by age 24? Mental illness has the potential to affect your family members, friends, and neighbors; or it could even affect you.

Let’s talk about mental illness and the effects it can have. Our state has seen, read and heard about tragic incidents that may have stemmed from a mental illness.  These tragic events have shed a negative light on mental illness and the complexities surrounding it. Living with an undiagnosed or untreated mental illness can be overwhelming and debilitating for those who are affected. A mental illness will not go away on its own, the longer it persists the harder it is to treat. The symptoms of mental illness may prevent someone from being able to care for themselves independently and can negatively impact decision making and judgment. However, detection and treatment can help individuals living with a mental illness to recovery and living healthier, productive lives. Let’s talk about it so we can recognize if a friend or family needs help.

Let’s talk about the stigma of mental illness. Stigma has a negative effect on individuals who are living with a mental illness.  The dread of judgment or discrimination can lead individuals to suffer in silence and avoid seeking help. This avoidance can drive individuals into isolation. Let’s talk about it, so our peers who are affected do not feel like they have to endure the effects of mental illness on their own. One way to beat the stigma is to get informed. Educate yourself and avoid false perceptions. Many stigmas are propagated out of a lack of understanding or limited knowledge about the topic. Let others share their experience with you by starting a conversation and be open to understanding.

Let’s talk about being proactive with mental health care. Early detection and intervention of mental health issues can lead to a better quality of life for those who are diagnosed with a mental illness. A key aspect of being proactive is getting a mental health screening if you have concerns. Proactive screenings can support early detection and linkage to mental health resources. So where do you go to get screened? You can receive a mental health screening questionnaire from your primary care provider who will go over your results with you. Let’s talk about it so our friends and family know about resources that can lead to a proper diagnosis and proper management through treatment.

Let’s talk about it and continue to work towards becoming a more informed community. We must join together to create better access to treatment through education, communication, intervention, and support. Let’s break the stigma, support our peers, and be proactive. Need to talk more? Peace River Center is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year by calling our Crisis Response Team!

If you are concerned about your mental health or the mental health of someone you know, call 863.519.3744 for immediate crisis intervention by phone or mobile response.