More than half of people with mental illness do not receive help for their disorders. Often, people avoid or delay seeking treatments due to concerns about being treated differently or fears of losing their jobs and livelihood. That is because stigma, prejudice and discrimination against people with mental illness is still very much a problem.
Mental health stigma refers to societal disapproval, or when society places shame on people who live with a mental illness or seek help for emotional distress, such as anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, or PTSD.
While, stigma is the adult society’s disapproval for mental health, bullying is the same for children; here bullies creates discriminations on the basis of those stigmas that adults also follow for the children who are facing mental health issues. Bullying though considered as a schoolyard problem, it’s causes quite a damage which extends far beyond schoolyards.
Stigma leads up to discriminations, which can either be obvious and direct, or it may be unintentional and subtle; either way stigma creates quite a damage on yourself.
Researchers have identified different types of stigmas:
- Public stigma involves the negative or discriminatory attitudes that others have about mental illness.
- Self-stigma refers to the negative attitudes, including internalized shame, that people with mental illness have about their own condition.
- Institutional stigma is more systemic, involving policies of government and private organizations that intentionally or unintentionally limit opportunities for people with mental illness.
Here are some of the ways that can help you deal with stigma and bullying:
- Get proper treatment for the mental health issue you are facing currently.
- Do not let stigma create self-doubt and shame within yourself.
- Do not isolate yourself from society.
- Do not equate yourself with your illness; both of them are different from each other.
- Join a support group.
- Get help at school for your child.
- And lastly, speak out against stigma and bullying you and others are facing. Be vocal.
Other’s judgments almost always stem from a lack of understanding rather than information based on facts. Learning to accept your condition and recognize what you need to do to treat it, seeking support, and helping educate others can make a big difference. So, stop this stigma around mental health problems, because they are just difficulties that our mind faces just like disorders of our bodies. Stop the stigma, as well as the bullying!