10 Ways to Take Strides Against Mental Health Stigma
March 29, 2023
Mental health stigma continues to be a significant problem today despite the progress we’ve made to normalize brain health. Many people do not understand the complexities of mental health conditions. Family members may be dismissive of or fail to support those close to them who struggle with depression or bipolar disorder. Fortunately, there are 10 ways you can take strides against mental health stigma!
1. Educate yourself about mental health conditions.
You can start by reading books, watching webinars, or listening to podcasts about mental health. Many resources are available on our website to help you learn about depression, bipolar disorder, and preventing suicides.
2. Share your knowledge with others.
Once you’ve learned more about mental health, it’s important to share what you learned with others. This can help reduce the stigma around mental health and increase awareness about the challenges people with mental health conditions face.
3. Be conscious of the language you use.
Words matter, especially when it comes to talking about mental health. Try to use language that is respectful, accurate, and free from stereotypes. For guidance on terms to use, see The Mental Health Coalition’s guide.
4. Challenge stereotypes and misconceptions about mental health.
There are many stereotypes and misconceptions about mental health that can be harmful and hurtful. Don’t be afraid to challenge these misconceptions when you hear them and help spread accurate information about mental health.
5. Support mental health organizations and advocates.
There are many organizations and advocates working to improve mental health care and reduce the stigma around mental health. Consider supporting these organizations, like Families for Depression Awareness, through donations, volunteering, or sharing our posts on social media.
6. Be open about your own family’s experiences.
It can be difficult to talk about mental health, especially when it comes to our personal stories. However, sharing your family’s experiences can help reduce stigma and encourage others to seek help when they need it.
7. Advocate for mental health policies and legislation.
Advocacy efforts can take many forms, such as contacting elected officials, participating in public forums, and collaborating with mental health organizations. Check to see what is going on in your state. By raising awareness and promoting policies supporting mental health care, we can help ensure everyone has access to the care they need.
8. Encourage others to seek help and support.
If you know someone who is struggling with their mental health, encourage them to seek help and support. This can include therapy, support groups, or other mental health services.
9. Be a good listener and show empathy toward those struggling.
Sometimes, the most important thing you can do is simply listen to someone who is struggling. One way to be a good listener is to give the other person your full attention. Try to understand their perspective and feelings, even if you don’t agree with them. Let them know that you care and are there to support them.
10. Take care of your own mental health and prioritize self-care.
Don’t forget to take care of your own mental health! This can include practicing self-care, seeking therapy or support when needed, and taking breaks when things get overwhelming. Take our Caregiver Stress Test to check in with your wellness.
By taking these strides, you are creating an environment where more people will reach out for help when needed.