The stigma of mental health care is finally starting to fade away, and we say, “good riddance.” This stigma has impacted how people view others struggling with mental health. It has also caused many people to feel ashamed for needing support with their mental health, resulting in them avoiding getting the help they need altogether. Now, with the stigma changing, we want to go even further. We don’t think mental health care is just for people who are struggling, but for everyone. Keep reading to learn more about the stigma of mental health care and why mental health is for everyone.
The stigma of mental health care
The public stigma of mental health care involves discriminatory or negative attitudes toward people with mental health conditions. This stigma can also be internalized, causing a person to feel shame about their own condition. Shame can cause a person to not discuss their condition or what they are struggling with and prevent them from reaching out and getting the support they deserve.
This stigma exists because of a lack of understanding and/or fear of mental health conditions. Unfortunately, mass media tends to amplify the stigma by portraying extreme and often inaccurate conditions and treatments. According to our Houston psychiatrist Dr. Bobbie Porche, these portrayals “are dangerous because they cause people with mental health disorders to feel isolated and struggle alone or in silence, causing them not to seek treatment.”
Thankfully, the stigma is changing
There are two big reasons why the stigma around mental health is changing, and those reasons are:
- Generation Z
- The COVID-19 pandemic
Unlike generations that came before, Gen Z grew up with smart technology and social media. On media platforms such as TikTok, many young people share more aspects of their lives than previous generations, including their struggles with mental health and the care they receive. Sharing content on these topics helps to spark conversations and normalizes the topic altogether.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, pretty much everyone experienced some isolation and depression. During lockdowns, there was nothing to distract you from your mental health issues. This time was very hard for many of us, but the silver lining is that it also helped people confront mental health in a way they haven’t before.
With both Gen Z and the pandemic, we find that mental health is being talked about more and becoming normalized. And as it becomes normalized, the lack of understanding and fear that is the foundation of the stigma begins to break down. As a result, the stigma of mental illness is changing.
You don’t have to hit rock bottom
As the stigma is thankfully changing, we want to go even further. We don’t think mental health care is just for people who are struggling, but for everyone. And that’s because our mental health is our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we all think, act, and feel. So, getting care and support for something that impacts each and every one of us makes total sense, right?
Dr. Porche is a big believer in everyone receiving mental health care. She says, “Even if you’re feeling okay, I encourage every single person on this planet to do therapy because there’s no other place you can really focus on yourself and your issues.” Unlike talking through issues with family or friends, where there can be bias or back-and-forth, or sometimes even conflict, therapy sessions are confidential and involve talking through your issues with a neutral third party who is a licensed professional.
Whether you’re at a particularly low point or you’re feeling fine, therapy or other mental health care options can help you improve your internal processing, develop coping skills, and overall enhance your emotional, psychological, and social well-being.
Tips for getting started
It’s important to understand that mental health care is not a one-size-fits-all solution. Everyone’s brain is unique, which means that what works for one person may not work for you. Find a provider who you trust, feel safe with, and can relate to. Keep an open mind and don’t be afraid to try new things if something isn’t working for you. Not vibing with your therapist? Ask for a referral to try a different one. Not finding any success with your sessions? See if there is something else you can try. Were you given medication that is giving you negative side effects? Switch to another one.
Sometimes it can take a while to find what works. And even then, what works for you at one point may not work for you later as you continue to grow. Have hope. Trust the process. We promise it is worth it.
If you’re interested in beginning your mental health care journey, we want to help! We have a wide range of mental health services available. Connect with us today and we’ll put you on a path that is just right for you. Let’s work together to continue changing the stigma of mental health care.