top of page

It's Time: Breaking the Stigma on Mental Health

In a world full of instant messaging, liking, watching and sharing - mental health is still a difficult topic to talk about.


Why does mental health still feel difficult to talk about?


  • Over a third of adults aged 16+ in the UK (36%) never make space in their day to speak about mental health (that is more than 20 million adults).

  • 1 in 4 people will experience a mental health problem of some kind each year in England.

  • 1 in 6 people report experiencing a common mental health problem (like anxiety and depression) in any given week in England.


Despite the movement in recent years on mental health and wellbeing - mental health is still a concern impacting thousands of people in the UK.


Mental health is often difficult to talk about due to various societal, cultural, and personal factors:


  1. Stigma: One of the primary reasons mental health is hard to talk about is the persistent stigma surrounding it. Many societies still view mental health issues as signs of weakness or personal failure, leading individuals to feel ashamed or embarrassed about seeking help or discussing their struggles openly.

  2. Fear of Judgment: There is a fear of being judged or misunderstood when discussing mental health concerns. People may worry about how others will perceive them or whether they will be seen as "crazy" or incapable if they disclose their mental health challenges.

  3. Cultural Norms: Cultural norms and beliefs about mental health vary widely, with some cultures placing a greater emphasis on stoicism and self-reliance, which can make it difficult for individuals to acknowledge their mental health issues or seek help.

  4. Lack of Understanding: Many people have limited knowledge and understanding of mental health conditions, which can contribute to misconceptions and dismissive attitudes. This lack of understanding may discourage individuals from opening up about their experiences or seeking support.

  5. Vulnerability: Talking about mental health requires vulnerability and the willingness to be open about one's innermost thoughts, feelings, and struggles. For some individuals, this level of vulnerability can be intimidating and uncomfortable.

  6. Fear of Repercussions: In certain contexts, such as the workplace or within social circles, individuals may fear negative repercussions, discrimination, or professional consequences if they disclose their mental health concerns.

  7. Lack of Supportive Environment: In environments where mental health is not prioritized or supported, individuals may feel isolated and unable to discuss their experiences openly. The absence of a supportive network can exacerbate feelings of loneliness and exacerbate mental health issues.


Breaking the silence surrounding mental health requires concerted efforts to challenge stigma, promote understanding, and create safe spaces where individuals feel empowered to speak openly about their mental health experiences without fear of judgment or reprisal.


Are we seeking the support that we need?


  • Approximately only 1 in 3 adults with a common mental health problem are currently getting support in the form of talking therapies, medication or both.

  • The most common treatment offered is psychiatric medication.


The amount of people with common mental health problems went up by 20% between 1993 to 2014, in both men and women, and there is still an increasing need for more services, therapists and reducing the stigma over mental health.



How has talking about mental health evolved?

I mentioned the instant accessibility we have in today's world at the start of this post. Social media has had both positive and negative impacts on talking about mental health:


Positives:


  1. Increased Awareness: Social media platforms have helped raise awareness about mental health issues by providing a space for people to share their stories, struggles, and coping mechanisms. This has helped reduce the stigma surrounding mental health.

  2. Community Support: Social media allows individuals to connect with others who may be experiencing similar mental health challenges, creating virtual support networks and communities where people can offer advice, empathy, and encouragement.

  3. Access to Information: Social media provides easy access to information about mental health resources, treatment options, and self-help techniques. This can empower individuals to seek help and make informed decisions about their mental well-being.

  4. Validation and Acceptance: Sharing mental health experiences on social media can help individuals feel validated and accepted, knowing that they are not alone in their struggles. This can promote a sense of belonging and reduce feelings of isolation.


Negatives:


  1. Negative Comparisons: On the downside, social media can also exacerbate negative comparisons and feelings of inadequacy, as individuals may compare their lives to the seemingly perfect lives portrayed by others online. This can contribute to feelings of anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem.

  2. Cyberbullying and Trolling: Social media platforms can be breeding grounds for cyberbullying and trolling, which can have detrimental effects on individuals' mental health. Negative comments and harassment can amplify existing mental health issues and deter people from seeking support online.

  3. Misinformation and Oversimplification: Social media can be a source of misinformation and oversimplification of complex mental health issues. Misleading content and oversimplified solutions may lead to misunderstandings and inappropriate treatment choices.


Overall, while social media has provided a platform for open discussions about mental health, it is important to approach information critically, seek reliable resources, and prioritize mental well-being while engaging with social media platforms and not use it as a replacement for mental health issues.

The bottom line? Find what works for you, and that might just be therapy.

Talking therapy is like having a thoughtful chat with someone who's got your back. You can spill out all your thoughts and feelings without feeling judged or awkward. It's like clearing out the junk drawer in your brain.


The therapist helps you untangle it all when it suddenly feels a bit messy. They ask questions, listen carefully, and help you figure out why you're feeling the way you do. It's like having a mental detective on your team. But it's not just about talking. They may give you practical tips and tricks to deal with life's curveballs. Think of it as upgrading your toolbox with new coping skills and strategies.


It's a no-pretence zone. You can be your true self without worrying about impressing anyone. It's all about being real and working through stuff together.


Checkout my post on the transformative power of therapy and how it could help you. Talking therapy isn't just about fixing problems. It's about growth. You learn more about yourself, gain confidence, and become better equipped to handle whatever life throws your way. It's like a breath of fresh air for your mind.





28 views

Recent Posts

See All

Comments


bottom of page