Mental health is very important and is something many people struggle to manage. One statistic says “1 in 5 Americans will experience a mental illness in a given year,” (“Learn About Mental Health”). Our mental health affects how we think, feel, and act, and it also determines how we handle stress (“Learn About Mental Health”). Mental health is also concurrent with physical health. Poor mental health can affect one’s physical health negatively, also affecting one’s overall health negatively. Another statistic also states “More than half of people with mental illness don’t seek help for their disorders,” (“Stigma and Discrimination”). This is due to the many negative stigmas surrounding mental illness. These stigmas can create negative attitudes towards people suffering from mental illness in different circumstances and situations. This negativity can come from outside through judgement (from other people), but it can also come from within the person through internalized shame about their own condition. The effects of these stigmas can be very harmful, including “reluctance to seek treatment, lack of understanding by others, fewer opportunities for work, bullying/harassment, lack of health insurance, and self-doubt,” (Mayo Clinic Staff). The stigmas and their effects can make it extremely difficult for one with mental illness to recover.
Even though these stigmas and their effects are very harmful, there are some steps that can be taken to cope with the negative stereotypes. The first and most important step is to allow oneself to get treatment, even if that just starts with talking to someone. It is also important to not allow the stigma to create self-doubt, mental illness is not a sign of personal weakness. Connecting with others who suffer from a similar mental illness may also help one to overcome any shame. It is also important to surround oneself with supportive family and friends and have people one can reach out to. Internally, the person should not feel like their illness defines them. They are not equate to the illness, instead they are a human being with a mental illness. Joining a support group may also help one to express how they feel and become educated on their illness. Lastly, speaking out against the stigma may help create confidence in one self and instill courage in others suffering as well. It may also help educate the public about mental illness and the harmful effects of the stigma around it (Mayo Clinic Staff).
“Learn About Mental Health.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers
for Disease Control and Prevention, 26 Jan. 2018,
Mayo Clinic Staff. “Mental Health: Overcoming the Stigma of Mental Illness.” Mayo
Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 24 May 2017,
“Stigma and Discrimination.” American Psychiatric Association , 2021 American