Stigma about mental ill-health can lead to discrimination, stop people seeking help, and exacerbate symptoms and distress.
While society has come a long way in tackling negative views and stereotypes, there is a way to go. Here are some tips for coping with, and overcoming, stigma.
If seeking treatment feels overwhelming, break it down into small and more manageable steps. Resist the urge to isolate yourself and do not let the fear of being diagnosed with a condition stop you from getting help.
A diagnosis can be helpful when it comes to identifying the right treatment for your symptoms. It is also important to find a mental health professional you feel comfortable with. Finding the right mental health support is crucial for recovery and overcoming stigma.
You are not your challenge
When you’re in the thick of a difficult episode, it can be easy to forget that you are distinct from your lived experience. But you are much more than your depression, anxiety, trauma, psychosis or other symptoms. Establishing and maintaining connections with people you trust can also help provide perspective and reminders that you exist outside of your lived experience.
Be open about mental health
If isolation and secrecy foster stigma, being open about mental health helps to combat it. Sharing even part of your experiences and what helps break down stereotypes, allows others to better support you and also encourages them to open up in return.
Likewise, if you see someone perpetuating stereotypes about or discriminating about mental ill-health, speak up. It only takes one person to start breaking the cycle. More two in five people have lived experience at some point. Mental health conditions are common, treatable and nothing to be ashamed about.
Flourish Australia is committed to providing tailored support to help people reach and maintain recovery. Find out more here.
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