Mental Health and the Stigma

Mental Health and the Stigma attached is something that haunts many of us with a mental illness history. I am tired of being stigmatized because I have a mental illness. Society punishes me for “the sins of the father”(NKJ Bible, Exodus 34:6-7). I did not ask to be sexually abused as a child. I did not ask to have depression, anxiety, PTSD, and Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) as a result of that abuse, but I do. So what can I do?

The Stigma of Mental Illness

First, learn some facts about mental illness and stigma. According to the Mental Health Commission three out of four people with a mental illness report that they have experienced stigma. Stigma is a mark of disgrace that sets a person apart. When a person is labeled by their illness they are seen as part of a stereotyped group. Negative attitudes create prejudice which leads to negative actions and discrimination.

And according to NAMI’s Fact Sheet it further defines stigma and what it leads to which in the nutshell is discrimination:

  • What is Stigma?
    • An attempt to label a particular group of people as less worthy of respect than others.
    • A mark of shame, disgrace or disapproval that results in discrimination.
    • Not just a matter of using the wrong word or action – it’s about disrespect
  • What does Stigma have to do with Mental Illness?
  • Stigma leads to …
    • Inadequate insurance coverage for mental health services
    • Fear, mistrust, and violence against people living with mental illness and their families
    • Family and friends turning their backs on people with mental illness
    • Prejudice and discrimination
  • Discrimination against people who have mental illnesses keeps them from seeking help.
    • While 1 in 5 Americans lives with a mental disorder, estimates indicate that nearly two-thirds of all people with a diagnosable mental illness do not seek treatment, especially people from diverse communities. 
    • Lack of knowledge, fear of disclosure, rejection of friends, and discrimination are a few reasons why people with mental illness don’t seek help.
    • Discrimination against people with mental illness violates their rights and denies them opportunities. Despite Civil Rights Law such as the Americans with Disabilities Act, people with mental illnesses often experience discrimination in the workplace, education, housing, and healthcare.

So What Do We Do?

What do we do about the stigma of mental illness? How do we fight against the discrimination in health insurance, housing, and the job market?

  1. Don’t take it personally. If someone’s ignorance and lack of knowledge is evident by their language and conversation, the worst thing you can do is react defensively. This empowers the other person’s words and assumes you are threatened by their response. It suggests there is some truth in what they say.
  2. Educate yourself with some statistics about mental illness. According to Psych Central:
    • One million people die from suicide around the globe. Over 30,000 people worldwide suffer from depression.
    • Suicide takes more lives than traffic accidents, lung disease, and AIDS.
    • Depression is the leading cause of disability in the U.S. for ages 15-44.
    • 90 percent of people won’t get adequate treatment.
    • 80 percent would rather live with pain than do something about it.
  3. Own your story. Your story is the only one you own. You can tell your own experiences and story about how you are being helped. Those listening can’t disagree because it’s your story, not theirs.
  4. Stick to science and genetics. Nothing fights ignorance like the use of physiologic terms and neurobiology when speaking about your illness. Don’t forget to throw in genetics and how this affects my illness and mood disorders and the predisposition of your illness related to specific genes.
  5. And last, walk away. If the conversation frustrates you and the other person’s ignorance continues, you can either walk away and repeat…Don’t take it personally.

So now armed with information to fight those that insist on treating us with prejudice and ignorance. I can stand up for myself with dignity and educate those who insist on attaching a stigma to my name and my illness. So can you. Are your ready to stand up and fight?

[tweetthis twitter_handles=”Susan_Langer1″ remove_hidden_hashtags=”true”]Can you stand up and educate those who attach #stigma to mental illness?[/tweetthis]

See you next blog,

Susan…

Courtesy ofwww.attn.com

Quotes on Caring – Tuesday at Ten: {Caring} 7/6/16

Courtesy of www.brainyquotes.com

Quotes on CARING

I wasn’t much in the mood to write tonight so I thought I would show some quotes on caring from the internet. It is such an important part of our character to be caring toward others. We start learning to care while children, taught by our parents and teachers. As we grow older, we learn from other adults that we come in contact with and other children as well. If we are lucky enough to have a pet or two, we can act caring towards that dog or cat or guinea pig while playing and caring for them. 

Anyway, I thought the quotes that I found on caring said it much better than I could.

Susan…

Continue reading “Quotes on Caring – Tuesday at Ten: {Caring} 7/6/16”

Finding Your Voice – Tuesday at Ten: {VOICE} 6/1/16

Courtesy of www.findingthegracewithin.com

Finding Your Voice

 

Tonight, I want to speak about finding your voice. This voice is what your own story stems from whether it is abuse, mental illness, chronic illness, abandonment, loss or grief, or whatever your inner voice tells you. That voice inside your soul needs to be identified by you and must be free to speak out loud to those who are like-minded and even those who are not. Sometimes finding and speaking our voice can be confrontative, but more often it is done as a release into freedom through writing, prayer or confiding in a close, trusted friend and/or counselor. The choice of how you express your voice and when you express it is yours, but whatever you do, don’t stifle your voice. You need the freedom to express what you think, what you feel, and what has happened to you as a result.

Courtesy of www.pinterest.com

Some of us even buried our voice so deeply that the memory of it was so distant that it didn’t exist for years. Mine was like that until I was in my 30’s. Now, my voice is strong and expressive and well-rounded and represents who I am now years after I was abused as a child. That is also possible for you. Recognize your power and your strength whether from counseling, healing, or God, but recognize that you have it inside of you and let it come out into the open. Be strong, be courageous, set your voice free in any way that you can. Just make it happen.

 

God Bless,

 

Susan…

Courtesy of www.pinterest.com

 


 

Tuesday at Ten {VOICE}

Posted: 31 May 2016 12:24 PM PDT

    Welcome to Tuesday at Ten! The Tuesday blog Link up where you have 6 full days to use the “prompt Word or Prompt phrase” as a part of your writing.

Each week I post a prompt word or phrase and you finish the phrase and or write about the word chosen. write how that word or phrase fits you and your life or your thoughts.

Whether it be just writing a story behind the word or being as creative as you wish using photos, poems, art, or graphics – whichever creative way you choose.

You have 6 days to write and link up your blog at the bottom of the page so that others can link up with you. [ . . . . . ]

Be sure to visit your “link up” neighbor and spread the joy of connection! A new Prompt word is posted every Tuesday Morning at 10am, the link up closes at 11pm the night before.

Make sure to visit the Tuesday at Ten Facebook page to view the winner and for daily news! We also have a new FACEBOOK GROUP PAGE for Tuesday at Ten on facebook that is in the works to connect more! More on that to come! Check the facebook page for more info!

Remember  – it’s not about being perfect, it’s about being YOU. Have FUN

Mental Health Awareness Month – Charade

 

It will soon be the end of May so I once again wanted to post for Mental Health Awareness Month with a haibun named, Charade. If you are living today without hope, or if someone whom you love is suffering from mental illness, leave me a private or public comment or message either on this post or on my About Page so that I can pray for you, today?


Charade

Courtesy of www.psychologytoday.com

Living ain’t

of worth or a damn

what for

Life is a charade full of acting as if’s and pretending. I paint on my face an appropriate smile or frown, whatever is called for each and every time. I feel like a fake from dawn to dusk, only exposing my truth in private behind my privet. Everyone expects me to play the game of healthy wellness though I’m insane.

wonders of living

preclude sometimes

leaving deceit

Family, friends, doctors, all want to know how great they are doing in this charade they call my life. I don’t disappoint often. Occasionally not taking my pills or taking too many makes for a fake crisis but the game ends at the hospital with some rest and some stability. They all pump me full of even more medications and pat themselves on their backs for the wonderful job they all are doing. No one looks too deeply into my eyes fearing they will see what I hide. My face carries on their game called fake charades.

windows to

the soul of humanity

exposure

 

 

 

 

 

 


Weekly Writing Prompt #38

It has been a while since I have shared some of my poetry with you. Above I wrote a haibun to the word prompts and is not necessarily inspiring or motivating but speaks to the feelings that all people with mental illness experience as well as their close friends and family members.

This was written to a prompt from  The Secret Keeper called Weekly Writing Prompt #38 and is: (5) Words: | CHARADE | FACE | CALL | FAKE | GAME |. To read other poems, click on the link above and look in the comment section where they are listed.