The stigma surrounding mental health has been well documented on this blog (and more broadly across a coalition of advocacy groups and individual mental health advocates), and it continues to foster shame, silence and even personal and professional impediments to individuals with a mental health issue. Whether it it intentional or accidental words and actions can sting. Sometimes it takes the form of a Senator questioning the medical realities of issues like depression. Sometimes it’s the idea that people with a mental health issue are violent. There can even be stigmas that are sort of backhanded compliments- like the tortured genius who bravely battles their personal demons. The costs of stigma and those who use it to shame people with a mental illness are high- it can prevent someone from seeking treatment and it can impact what types of treatments are available and funded.
So when I came across this epic takedown of mental health shamers and stigma I had to share it:
….Paul…. There’s nothing here? What about the epic takedown!?
Yes, I know, my apologies. I’m not sure there is such a thing. I wanted to make a point. We’re in a culture that loves the idea of putting bad people in their place. A stinging rebuttal or a sharp verbal assault from some unexpected corner. We love to like and share these YouTube videos, Tweets and HuffPo essays. I’m afraid that the notion of a takedown is one of spectacle over progress, of release rather than healing. Shame and stigma aren’t going away because of a funny comeback.
It’s going to happen through education and sharing. By being open and honest about mental health issues. If someone is being ignorant, point out their mistake.
Don’t take them down- bring them around.