MHAM: 9 Ways To Fight Mental Health Stigma

Most people who live with mental illness have, at some point, been blamed for their condition. They’ve been called names. Their symptoms have been referred to as “a phase” or something they can control “if they only tried.” They have been illegally discriminated against, with no justice. This is the unwieldy power that stigma holds.

Stigma causes people to feel ashamed for something that is out of their control. Worst of all, stigma prevents people from seeking the help they need. For a group of people who already carry such a heavy burden, stigma is an unacceptable addition to their pain. And while it has reduced in recent years, the pace of progress has not been quick enough.

Every day, in every possible way, we need to stand up to stigma. If you’re not sure how, here are nine ways you can fight stigma:

  • Talk Openly About Mental Health
  • Educate Yourself And Others
  • Be Conscious Of Language
  • Encourage Equality Between Physical And Mental Illness
  • Show Compassion For Those With Mental Illness
  • Choose Empowerment Over Shame
  • Be Honest About Treatment
  • Let The Media Know When They’re Being Stigmatizing
  • Don’t Harbor Self-Stigma

You can read more here, then make a commitment to fight stigma.

If you or someone you know is struggling with depression or mental stress, text ‘Start’ to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741. It’s free, confidential; and someone is available to talk to you 24/7. You can visit their website www.crisistextline.org for more information.

You can also call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (800-273-8255).

Or you can contact the National Alliance on Mental Illness (800-950-6264) for support and local referrals.

You can also go to Mental Health America to find a support group in your area.

#MentalHealthAwarenessMonth #MHAM #MentalHealth #MentalWellness #YouAreNotAlone #HopeForToday

 

MHAM: What if Someone Talks to You About Their Mental Health?

What if someone talks to you about their mental health? Do you know what to do or say? Or how to follow up with them?

  • Listen. Let them finish their sentences and complete thoughts without interrupting. After they have finished you can respond.
  • Let them know if you understand. If someone has just spilled their guts and and you’ve gone through something similar—tell them. It helps a lot for someone to know they aren’t alone. Make sure you don’t switch the topic of conversation to your struggles though; focus on their needs.
  • Avoid being judgmental. Don’t tell them they are being weird or crazy; it’s not helpful at all.
  • Take them seriously. Try not to respond with statements that minimize how they are feeling or what they are going through, such as, “You’re just having a bad week,” or “I’m sure it’s nothing.”
  • Make yourself available to talk again if needed. While it can be a big relief for someone to share something they have been keeping secret, mental health struggles usually aren’t solved with one conversation.  Let the person who has spoken with you know that they can reach out to you again if they are having a tough time. It’s ok to let them know if there is a time of day or certain days of the week that you aren’t available.  For instance, “I’m here for you if you need to talk, but my parents don’t let me use the phone after 9 on school nights, so call before then.
  • Don’t turn what you’ve been told into gossip. If someone is talking to you about their mental health, it was probably tough for them to work up the nerve to say something in the first place and you shouldn’t share what they tell you with other students at school. Let them share on their own terms.
  • If you don’t understand, do some research and learn about what you’ve been told. Make sure that your information is coming from reliable sources like government agencies and health organizations.
  • Tell an adult if you have to. It’s important to have friends that trust you, but if a friend indicates they have thoughts or plans of hurting themself or another person, have been hearing voices or seeing things that no one else can hear or see, or have any other signs and symptoms that shouldn’t be ignored then you need to tell an adult what is going on. That doesn’t make you a bad friend; it just means that the problem requires more help than you can give. If someone you know is in crisis and needs help urgently, call 1-800-273-TALK (8255), text 741741, go to your local Emergency Room or call 911.

You can read more here.

If you or someone you know is struggling with depression or mental stress, text ‘Start’ to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741. It’s free, confidential; and someone is available to talk to you 24/7. You can visit their website www.crisistextline.org for more information.

You can also call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (800-273-8255).

Or you can contact the National Alliance on Mental Illness (800-950-6264) for support and local referrals.

You can also go to Mental Health America to find a support group in your area.

#MentalHealthAwarenessMonth #MHAM #MentalHealth #MentalWellness #YouAreNotAlone #HopeForToday

MHAM: What is Mental Health?

Let’s go back to the basics and talk about what mental health is, because when we understand a thing, we are less likely to be afraid of it, less likely to discriminate against it, more likely to develop compassion and help others. Education is power and we should not just empower ourselves, but empower others.

Mental health is our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices. Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood.

Over the course of your life, if you experience mental health problems, your thinking, mood, and behavior could be affected. Many factors contribute to mental health problems, including:

  • Biological factors, such as genes or brain chemistry
  • Life experiences, such as trauma or abuse
  • Family history of mental health problems

Mental health problems are common but help is available. People with mental health problems can get better and many recover completely. You can read more about this here.

If you or someone you know is struggling with depression or mental stress, text ‘Start’ to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741. It’s free, confidential; and someone is available to talk to you 24/7. You can visit their website www.crisistextline.org for more information.

You can also call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (800-273-8255).

Or you can contact the National Alliance on Mental Illness (800-950-6264) for support and local referrals.

You can also go to Mental Health America to find a support group in your area.

#MentalHealthAwarenessMonth #MHAM #MentalHealth #MentalWellness #YouAreNotAlone #HopeForToday

MHAM: 5 Action Steps for Helping Someone in Emotional Pain

Oftentimes, we don’t know what to do or say to others going through emotional pain, especially when we think the person might be suicidal. Here are 5 steps you can take to help out and possibly save a life.

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If you or someone you know is struggling with depression or mental stress, text ‘Start’ to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741. It’s free, confidential; and someone is available to talk to you 24/7. You can visit their website www.crisistextline.org for more information.

You can also call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (800-273-8255).

Or you can contact the National Alliance on Mental Illness (800-950-6264) for support and local referrals.

You can also go to Mental Health America to find a support group in your area.

#MentalHealthAwarenessMonth #MentalHealth #MentalWellness #YouAreNotAlone #HopeForToday

 

 

MHAM: Reading List

Nowadays, you can find a book for every subject, and mental health is no different. Whether you’re a fan of fiction or non-fiction, biographical or romance, how-to or self-help, there is something out there for everyone, books that will give you a different view point or understanding of what it’s like for those who deal with mental health issues, personally or via someone they love. I’ve recommended some books below (including my own), but You can find more recommended reading here, here and here.


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AN UNQUIET MIND. From Kay Redfield Jamison – an international authority on manic-depressive illness, and one of the few women who are full professors of medicine at American universities – a remarkable personal testimony: the revelation of her own struggle since adolescence with manic-depression, and how it has shaped her life. Vividly, directly, with candor, wit, and simplicity, she takes us into the fascinating and dangerous territory of this form of madness – a world in which one pole can be the alluring dark land ruled by what Byron called the “melancholy star of the imagination”, and the other a desert of depression and, all too frequently, death. A moving and exhilarating memoir by a woman whose furious determination to learn the enemy, to use her gifts of intellect to make a difference, led her to become, by the time she was forty, a world authority on manic-depression, and whose work has helped save countless lives.

 

 


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GIRL, INTERRUPTED. In 1967, after a session with a psychiatrist she’d never seen before, eighteen-year-old Susanna Kaysen was put in a taxi and sent to McLean Hospital. She spent most of the next two years in the ward for teenage girls in a psychiatric hospital as renowned for its famous clientele—Sylvia Plath, Robert Lowell, James Taylor, and Ray Charles—as for its progressive methods of treating those who could afford its sanctuary. Kaysen’s memoir encompasses horror and razor-edged perception while providing vivid portraits of her fellow patients and their keepers. It is a brilliant evocation of a “parallel universe” set within the kaleidoscopically shifting landscape of the late sixties. Girl, Interrupted is a clear-sighted, unflinching document that gives lasting and specific dimension to our definitions of sane and insane, mental illness and recovery.

 

 


Man's Search for Meaning by [Frankl, Viktor E.]MAN’S SEARCH FOR MEANING. Psychiatrist Viktor Frankl’s memoir has riveted generations of readers with its descriptions of life in Nazi death camps and its lessons for spiritual survival. Between 1942 and 1945 Frankl labored in four different camps, including Auschwitz, while his parents, brother, and pregnant wife perished. Based on his own experience and the experiences of others he treated later in his practice, Frankl argues that we cannot avoid suffering but we can choose how to cope with it, find meaning in it, and move forward with renewed purpose. Frankl’s theory-known as logotherapy, from the Greek word logos (“meaning”)-holds that our primary drive in life is not pleasure, as Freud maintained, but the discovery and pursuit of what we personally find meaningful. At the time of Frankl’s death in 1997, Man’s Search for Meaning had sold more than 10 million copies in twenty-four languages. A 1991 reader survey for the Library of Congress that asked readers to name a “book that made a difference in your life” found Man’s Search for Meaning among the ten most influential books in America.

 

 


Madness: A Bipolar Life by [Hornbacher, Marya]MADNESS. When Marya Hornbacher published her first book, Wasted: A Memoir of Anorexia and Bulimia, she did not yet have the piece of shattering knowledge that would finally make sense of the chaos of her life. At age twenty-four, Hornbacher was diagnosed with Type I rapid-cycle bipolar, the most severe form of bipolar disorder. In Madness, in her trademark wry and utterly self-revealing voice, Hornbacher tells her new story. Through scenes of astonishing visceral and emotional power, she takes us inside her own desperate attempts to counteract violently careening mood swings by self-starvation, substance abuse, numbing sex, and self-mutilation. How Hornbacher fights her way up from a madness that all but destroys her, and what it is like to live in a difficult and sometimes beautiful life and marriage — where bipolar always beckons — is at the center of this brave and heart-stopping memoir. Madness delivers the revelation that Hornbacher is not alone: millions of people in America today are struggling with a variety of disorders that may disguise their bipolar disease. And Hornbacher’s fiercely self-aware portrait of her own bipolar as early as age four will powerfully change, too, the current debate on whether bipolar in children actually exists.

 

 


Let's Pretend This Never Happened by [Lawson, Jenny]LET’S PRETEND THIS NEVER HAPPENED. When Jenny Lawson was little, all she ever wanted was to fit in. That dream was cut short by her fantastically unbalanced father and a morbidly eccentric childhood. It did, however, open up an opportunity for Lawson to find the humor in the strange shame-spiral that is her life, and we are all the better for it. In the irreverent Let’s Pretend This Never Happened, Lawson’s long-suffering husband and sweet daughter help her uncover the surprising discovery that the most terribly human moments—the ones we want to pretend never happened—are the very same moments that make us the people we are today. For every intellectual misfit who thought they were the only ones to think the things that Lawson dares to say out loud, this is a poignant and hysterical look at the dark, disturbing, yet wonderful moments of our lives. 

 

 


Stay With Me by [Griffin, Ruth E.]STAY WITH ME. Noah is stocking shelves at the local bookstore when Alma walks in and kisses him. He has barely enough time to grasp what’s happening when she ends the kiss and walks away. Too intrigued not to respond, the normally introverted shopkeeper goes after Alma…only to discover keeping up with the outgoing vixen is more difficult than he imagined. Everything Alma does is impulsive and Noah is no different. The good-looking, but reserved clerk captured her attention on a previous visit and since then she’s been determined to steal a kiss. However, seeing him again after the purloined smooch was not part of her plan; and now that he wants to get to know her, Alma finds the future she’s carefully planned is suddenly uncertain. With the odds stacked against them, Noah and Alma must decide if their fledgling relationship is worth pursuing, because if they can get past their doubts and insecurities, they might just have a future together.

 

 


If you or someone you know is struggling with depression or mental stress, text ‘Start’ to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741. It’s free, confidential; and someone is available to talk to you 24/7. You can visit their website www.crisistextline.org for more information.

You can also call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (800-273-8255).

Or you can contact the National Alliance on Mental Illness (800-950-6264) for support and local referrals.

You can also go to Mental Health America to find a support group in your area.

#MentalHealthAwarenessMonth #MentalHealth #MentalWellness #YouAreNotAlone #HopeForToday

 

Mental Health Awareness Month

Today begins Mental Health Awareness Month. Every year during this month, I post articles, information and stories about mental health. This is something that affects everyone: whether you are suffering with a mental disorder or you are a caregiver. But here’s the thing – this month isn’t just about mental illness, it’s about mental health, it’s about mental wellness. So let’s come together and give this the extra attention, give you the extra attention you deserve. Because we all deserve to be healthy – in our bodies, in our souls and in our minds.

So let’s start with some basic facts about mental health and stay tuned for more throughout this month.

GeneralMHFacts

If you or someone you know is struggling with depression or mental stress, text ‘Start’ to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741. It’s free, confidential; and someone is available to talk to you 24/7. You can visit their website www.crisistextline.org for more information.

You can also call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (800-273-8255).

Or you can contact the National Alliance on Mental Illness (800-950-6264) for support and local referrals.

You can also go to Mental Health America to find a support group in your area.

#MentalHealthAwarenessMonth #MentalHealth #MentalWellness #YouAreNotAlone #HopeForToday