What You Can Do You Stop The Stigma Of Mental Illness?
Fight Stigma By Teaching Understanding
There are legions of people in this world who have been touched by stigma some time in their lives. Stigma all to often kills. It kills the spirit of the person who is coping with it. It is a negative label to identify someone with. People with mental illnesses such as bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, or obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) suffer from a measurable amount of stigma throughout there life. It is believed if you have a mental illness you are violent, a killer, or even a sex offender. This is not always true.
It doesn't necessarily mean because you have a mental illness you are any of these things. People with a mental illness, or diagnosed disorders do not commit crimes that are horrendous any more than those with no mental illness. So the myth is not true that all mentally ill people are criminals.The media is partially responsible for many of the idea's that persist about people with mental illnesses. When the news broadcasts that a person charged with murder is found mentally ill, it immediately casts a stereotype that embraces millions of people and inflicts a heavy stigma. TV characters with a mental illness are often portrayed as hostile, dangerous and unpredictable, 70 % of these television characters with a mental illness are portrayed as violent.
This very stigma discourages families that have bipolar, schizophrenia or OCD from getting the help they so desperately need. They fear being persecuted, discriminated,and stereotyped against, so they continue to hide in shame. Stigma is about disrespect. Comedians often make fun of people with mental illnesses, using it as a joke.
Approximately 23 percent of the US population suffer from a mental illness and half of those unfortunately never get the help they so desperately need because of the stigma they feel. Today, most people who are affected by mental illness can lead productive lives within their communities thanks to a variety of support, programs, family and/or medications.
Things You Can Do To Battle Stigma
- We need to start using a more respectful language, stop using terms like fruitcake, nut case, freak, crazy and lunatic. Mental Illness can strike anyone at any given time.I know it is hard to not use many of these words,but using them in a less insulting way is an improvement.
- We need to build awareness and compassion for those that suffer from mental illness and not label them crazy. Many people have wrong and damaging ideas about mental illness. Let people know these labels are hurtful and damaging.
- Getting precise facts and information may help change ideas and actions. Educate the family and friends about mental illness, and how stigma misleads many people into fear that is not rational and not accurate.
- Break down the barriers of ignorance, prejudice, or unfair discrimination by promoting education, understanding, and respect. Stick up for someone you know struggles with stigma. Show them you understand.
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