Here’s a great post from one of the bloggers I read on a regular basis, Pride In Madness, about mental health stigmas and campaigns to reduce the stigmas. I’ve written my own stuff on how media talks about mental health (for example, Robin Williams had “demons”) and I think it’s an important discussion to have. Personally I don’t mind the sick label because I think it provides a context for people to understand that things like depression/anxiety can have physiological causes that are treatable. On the other hand, the sick label carries a whole other set of negative stigmas. But the points I want to reemphasize from her post are that access to mental health services is just as important as reducing stigmas. If treatment solutions aren’t available reducing stigmas can only go so far to help people manage their issue- whether it’s depression, anxiety, bipolar, etc. The second point is that the best way to help people open up and be comfortable talking about their mental health is to develop and foster personal relationships. Don’t assume a right or a wrong way to talk about mental health that applies to everybody, but talk to the people in your life facing a mental health issue about their experiences and their preferences.
And go check out Pride In Madness.
1 thought on “My Problem with Anti-Stigma Campaigns”
My strategy: I do what I can to foster open discussion of these issues. I offer my own experiences, to lead by example. It’s not a common tactic for a mental health care professional; I don’t mention my experiences with patients. My hope: stigma must recede as such topics become more commonplace.
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