Even in 2017 mental illness has a taboo to it. The stigma is still very much alive. But it doesn’t have to be. Florida psychiatrists say that sharing stories about mental health, discussing diagnosis, and having conversations about mental illness are important. These not only reduce the stigma and get people talking but they can greatly help those that have mental health problems.
Having a mental health diagnosis can make people feel ashamed. They feel the need to hide it from both strangers and those close to them. Psychiatrists say this only heightens symptoms of the illness many times. Even when things aren’t shameful, when we hide them, we start to believe that they are. Being honest and discussing your mental illness will help reduce the shame that often accompanies a mental health diagnosis.
Being open and honest is important to mental health. This goes along with reducing shame. Opening up to those around you will make you feel better and build a stronger bond between you and others. By sharing your story you may inspire others to open up about their own struggles.
Part of the stigma around mental illness is that no one talks about it. Just having discussions about it removes some of the negativity about it. There’s nothing wrong or “dirty” about having mental health issues. They aren’t pleasant but they are perfectly normal. People often judge what they don’t know and understand.
When you share your mental health store you educate others on your diagnosis. This may prompt them to ask you questions, research online, or ask a professional. What this does is educate more people about mental health. Education and understanding are the first steps in changing how we think about and treat people with mental problems.
Sharing your story will further raise awareness about mental health. Many people don’t realize just how common mental health problems are. Sharing your story may help those around you see that anyone can get develop them. It will also add to the conversation around the treatment of people with mental health as well as the resources, or lack thereof, available.
Have you ever had a secret and felt incredibly lighter and happier after sharing it with someone? That’s what sharing your mental health story feels like. Sharing it with those around you, or being open about your diagnosis, will make you feel better. You will feel closer to those around you as well as less isolated.
The more open you are about your mental health the more open people are to helping. If your family knows you have depression and you start to go into another episode they can read the signs and be there for you. You can also be there for others going through similar things as you. Sharing notes, stories, encouragement, and resources are all extremely helpful to you and others.
Embrace the future of mental health by sharing your story. No, you don’t have to make a public Facebook post or speak at a conference. Florida psychiatrists recommend start off telling those closest to you. You don’t have to reveal it in a dramatic way if you don’t want either. Let it come up in casual conversation or tell a few people without making it seem like it’s a secret. There’s nothing wrong with having a mental health issue or diagnosis. Discussing mental health is the best way to reduce the stigma and increase awareness.