Stigmas have the propensity to hurt many people – those with mental illness and addiction are often stereotyped as being “crazy”, “manipulative”, “lazy”, and more. Whether perpetuated by depictions in the media or general misunderstandings, the fact is that stigmas hold people back rather than propel them to move forward and make decisions towards living happier, healthier lives. Much of what those with mental illness and addiction want is support – people who love them, support them, believe in them and want to them to succeed. Sometimes these individuals don’t provide these things to themselves, making support one of the most crucial factors to recovery.
As stated by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), stigmas cause individuals to feel shame about something that is out of their control. The best way that we can combat this is by changing the way we talk about mental illness and addiction altogether. A 2015 study published in the journal Social Science and Medicine emphasized that portraying those with mental illness and addiction as people who have successfully recovered after seeking treatment could be an excellent strategy to combat harsh depictions; when it comes to this population, Americans tend to focus more on the “problem person” than the “treated, recovered person”.
If we emphasized that effective treatment is available, and that recovery is possible, consider how many more people would open up and be willing to seek help for their experiences. Previous research has shown that many individuals withhold from seeking help because they fear that nobody will truly care to help them – this depressing reality is often an effect of years of self-stigmatization, discrimination, bullying, and more. If you are a friend or family member of a loved one with mental illness or addiction, actively make the decision to promote their recovery. Rather than shame them, give them guidance and tools on seeking the help they need. Be there to support them through the process. Not only could this support motivate them to seek treatment – it could save their life.
If you haven’t already, speak with a professional from a reputable treatment center today. Recovery is possible, and it’s never too late.
Avalon Malibu is a world-renowned, California state-licensed mental health and substance abuse recovery center. If you are ready to seek treatment to develop the tools you need to overcome life’s obstacles and be on the road towards happiness, health, and well-being, call us today at 888-958-7511 for a consultation. It’s never too late, and there are people here ready to help you.