Mental illness can affect anyone – regardless of gender, age, race or socioeconomic status. It can happen in varying degrees from mild to severe and come in many different forms. Mental health is such a common concern and yet, there is still stigma that prevents many people from feeling comfortable enough to talk about it.
What is stigma?
Stigma can come in various forms including exclusion, avoidance, and labeling – all of which can be damaging and problematic. It can be the reason that many individuals avoid or delay seeking support or treatment. The dread of judgment or discrimination can lead individuals to struggle in silence and avoid seeking help. This avoidance can drive individuals into isolation. As a society, we need to take action so our peers who are affected do not feel like they have to bear the effects of mental illness on their own.
During Mental Health Awareness Month, Peace River Center is amplifying the message of awareness alongside other organizations like NAMI to encourage everyone to come Together for Mental Health.
Peace River Center wants to Make It OK to talk about mental health and encourage our community to come together to fight the stigma. By working together, we can create positive change. We must do better to work toward increasing public awareness of mental health issues and services, improving access to care and promoting the utilization of existing resources and services.
Help bring people together to break the stigma.
Start by educating yourself about mental health to avoid false perceptions. People are more than their diagnoses. Many stigmas are propagated out of a lack of understanding or limited knowledge about the topic. Encourage those around you to have candid conversations about mental health. Foster discussions that are supportive, un-biased and judgement-free. If you hear someone speaking in stereotypes or making harmful assumptions about mental illness, take the opportunity to educate them in a respectful way. Let others share their experience with you by starting a conversation and be understanding.
Early detection and intervention of mental health issues can lead to a better quality of life for those who are affected. 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 come together so our friends and family know about resources that can lead to a proper diagnosis and proper management through treatment.
Let’s break the stigma, support our peers, and be proactive.
Let’s Make It OK to discuss mental illness and continue to work together towards becoming a more informed community. By doing so, we can promote better access to treatment through education, communication, intervention and support.
Need to talk more? Peace River Center is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year with a free, 24-hour crisis line for anyone experiencing emotional distress, mental health challenges, or urge to use substances. Call our Crisis Response Team at 863.519.3744 or text “Talk” to 863.204.3443 if you are concerned about your mental health or of someone you know.