Time for our third post. This time we want to talk about stigma; what it is and why we need to beat it!! We feel that this is particularly relevant due to the fact that Eating Disorder Awareness Week begins tomorrow!!
So what is stigma when it comes to mental health?
Stigma is the view that society as a whole has of mental illness.
Society seems to hold the view that those who suffer from mental illness merely need to ‘cheer up’, ‘be more positive’ and that sufferers have brought the illness on themselves.
Being mentally ill is, in the eyes of society, a sign of weakness.
These views are damaging to anyone affected by mental illness. If you are already feeling alienated, isolated and vulnerable because of a mental illness, society’s negative views are hardly likely to help you on your road to recovery.
How is it that if you break your leg or are diagnosed with a life-threatening physical illness you are sent cards, flowers, friends visit you and are sympathetic towards you, some even start fundraising for you; yet if you are diagnosed with a mental illness you are isolated, told to ‘cheer up’ and ignored?
If you broke your leg no one would tell you to carry on walking on it, even though it’s broken. They also wouldn’t tell you to fix it yourself. So why is it that people think these ideas apply to mental illness?
If all anyone needed to do was ‘cheer up’ and ‘snap out of it’, mental illness wouldn’t be an issue. If it were so simple to solve there would be less than 1 in 4 people suffering.
Here at Milking it for Money we want to break down this stigma. We want mental and physical health to be equally important in the eyes of society! We want people to feel comfortable when speaking openly about their experiences of mental illness and to talk about any issues they’re facing.
What’s the key to tackling stigma?
TALKING!! Talk about mental illness, talk talk talk!
Whether it affects you directly, indirectly or you just know someone who is struggling. The more we talk about it the less stigma there will be and the more we will empower those who suffer from mental illness.
If you have no idea where to start with talking about mental illness, look it up, start to learn and then discuss it with other people.
It’s amazing how many people are affected by mental illness; it affects everyone at some point in their lives. Starting a conversation can be daunting but it’s so rewarding to find out just how many people are affected by mental illness.
No one needs to deal with stigma whilst they’re already battling their own demons! They need to be in a supportive, caring environment in order to open up about their struggles and begin their recovery.
So keep talking, start as many conversations as possible about mental health and one day we will beat the stigma surrounding it!
Lets help the 1 in 4; before it becomes 4 in 4!
Take care, stay positive and don’t bottle it up!