How to Deal with Stigmatization of Mental Illness

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How to Deal with Stigmatization of Mental Illness

stigma of mental illness

While many of us are aware of the damaging effects that stigma can have, unfortunately there are many people that do not yet understand. Common misconceptions surrounding mental illness can easily take on the perceptions of heavy television viewers and hearsay, often making it more difficult to combat. The following are several reliable ways to cope with stigmatization if you experience it:

  1. Don’t take it personally. As hard as this is, it’s true. Associate Editor Therese Borchard notes for Psych Central that individuals who make inappropriate and untrue statements are saying these things because they already have the agreement made up in their mind. Understand that they simply do not understand the reality, and do not internalize their words.
  2. Retreat from the noise. According to psychologist Dr. Graham Davey, who specializes in media violence, “the way negative news affects your mood can also have a larger effect on how you interpret and interact with the world around you.” Whether you hear the stigmatizing statement in person or on television, retreating from social media and the news can help calm you down.
  3. Check in with your therapist, friend, or family member. If you can, get in touch with a someone who supports you, even if it’s just to “let off steam”. Having someone who is caring and who will listen may help you to work through some of your feelings. Dr. Michelle Riba, associate director at the University of Michigan’s Comprehensive Depression Center, told Huffington Post, “Ask people to have a conversation about how you’re feeling. Getting some input from people you trust and value is helpful.”
  4. Engage in a calming activity. Healthy Place states that breathing exercises, paying attention to the movement of your body, taking a shower, taking a walk, and reading a book are just a few ways to reduce stress and anxiety.

Speaking with someone about misconceptions regarding mental illness and/or addiction can be difficult, and not everybody is willing to listen. If you are speaking with someone who is close to you and may listen, consider sharing your experiences with them to help them understand. If you are speaking with someone who may not listen, consider partaking in the steps above. Although we cannot control others, we can control ourselves in how we think and act. Choose to not let this define you in a negative way.

 

 

 

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