IntroductionIn a world that emphasizes the importance of physical health, the significance of mental health often takes a back seat. Despite my efforts in understanding & discussing mental health, seeking therapy remains stigmatized in many societies. This stigma prevents many individuals from receiving the help they desperately need. The spectrum of mental illnesses is vast, and while some individuals are open about their therapy journeys, a substantial portion of young people refrain from seeking help due to the fear of judgment. While some individuals, particularly those with genetic or intellectual disorders, openly seek therapy, a substantial portion of youth in need avoid it due to the fear of judgment. According to 2022 statistics, a staggering 10.6% of youth in the United States grapple with severe major depression, with an overall increase of 1.24% from the previous year. And it affects one in five adults in America. These individuals often face the challenges of major depressive disorder and anxiety disorder.
Why is Mental Illness Stigmatized?Stigma can be defined as a negative stereotype related to something. Unfortunately, people with mental illnesses have fallen prey to the stigma and are considered as mad, violent or dangerous. At the same time, the unseen nature of mental health has created a misconception that mental illness is all in the head. Alarmingly, mental illness doesn’t discriminate; it can affect anyone of different age groups, races, genders, ethnicities, etc. This negative image built around mental illness make it challenging for people to avail help, counseling or therapy.
Breaking the Stigma Around Mental HealthOne of the difficulties in seeking therapy is a reluctance to accept that they need help. They think curing mental health doesn’t need any medical attention. The other biggest challenge is embarrassment or the fear of being called as weak. It’s essential to recognize that mental illnesses can be treated through therapy and sometimes medication, leading to fulfilling lives.
Ways to Approach Mental HealthChallenging stigma requires proactive steps. Here are some ways to break the stigma and approach Mental Health with a positive attitude:
- Educate Yourself: Knowledge is power. Learn about mental health, the advantages of therapy, and how the process unfolds. This understanding can dismantle misconceptions.
- Speak Out: Share your experiences with mental health and counseling with trusted friends or family if you feel safe. Opening up fosters a culture of openness and support.
- Encourage Others: By sharing information, resources, and your support, inspire others to seek help.
Benefits of TherapyTherapy is a key to mental health treatment, and it offers endless advantages; here are a few most prominent ones:
- Improved Coping Skills: Therapy equips individuals with effective coping mechanisms to manage stress and emotions.
- Enhanced Relationships: Communication is key to healthier relationships. Therapy can enhance communication skills and foster better connections with others.
- Reduced Symptoms: For those dealing with anxiety and depression, therapy can lead to a reduction in symptoms and an overall improved quality of life.
- Increased Self-Awareness: Through therapy, individuals gain insights into their thoughts, emotions, and behaviors, enhancing self-awareness.