There has long been a stigma surrounding mental health, which has often created many misconceptions that could be unhelpful to people who are experiencing mental health issues. We at Burton and District Mind believe these stigmas need to be broken so that we can push for better mental health for everyone.
Stigmas involve someone being seen in a negative light over differing circumstances and can often be the result of three things. Lack of knowledge, negative attitudes and people acting in ways that will disadvantage a stigmatised person. When it comes to mental health this stigma can make people believe they are less because of what they are going through. And the simple fact is, they are not less.
There are two main types of stigma which are social and self-stigma. Social stigma is the reaction of the people around someone experiencing mental health problems, where they may often tend to avoid someone or discriminate them. It has often been reported that nine out of 10 people with mental health problems say that stigma and discrimination has had a negative effect on their lives.
Whereas self-stigma is the internalisation of negative stereotypes of what you are going through. For example, worrying how others will perceive you.
Both types of stigma can be incredibly dangerous and could lead to someone avoiding help due to worry about the negative reaction from society and the fear of being shunned or rejected.
But what can we do to stop it? Education is a great first step so that people can learn how they should respond to someone they know is experiencing mental health problems instead of avoiding them. As well as understanding that mental health is a lot more common than people think is also a big step, in fact 1 in 4 people experience a mental health problem of some kind each year in England.
Together we can normalise mental health and break this stigma. Together we can make sure the people around us feel safe enough to ask for the help they need without fear of being shunned.
Time to Change is a long standing project across the UK to challenge the stigma and discrimination of people with mental health problems: https://www.time-to-change.org.uk/
Remember we are here to listen to you, if you are struggling please tell us. We are here to help and we will provide a safe space, judgement free for you to receive the help you need. You can find the services we have available at the following https://www.burtonmind.co.uk/