Throughout history, people suffering from forms of mental illness have been persecuted. As mental health conditions have become better understood and treatments have progressed to allow many people to lead normal lives, the stigma associated with mental health disorders and mental health treatment centers has been greatly reduced. However, it would be a serious mistake to suggest that a stigma no longer exists.
Many people who suffer from a mental health problem perceive that a stigma exists and even mental health treatment centers acknowledge the ongoing need to fight stigma and discrimination against those struggling with their mental health.
Exploring Mental Health Stigma
The stigma associated with mental health is a problem for communities, families, and, of course, individual sufferers. When an individual perceives that checking into a rehab for alcoholism treatment or therapy for post-traumatic syndrome will put their job promotion at risk or will cost them more out of pocket than treatment for a heart condition, they are not alone–and their perception of stigma is not without warrant.
According to the Mayo Clinic, some signs and harmful effects of stigma include: a reluctance to seek help at mental health treatment centers, reduced opportunities for work, difficulty finding housing, harassment, and health insurance that doesn’t cover or adequately cover the cost of treatment. In many cases, individuals believe that their colleagues, friends, or even their family members won’t understand their condition or need for treatment.
Coping with Stigma
People who dwell on the stigma associated with mental health treatment centers and mental health disorders are at increased risk for putting off care. Fortunately, there are many advocates today for people struggling with their mental health. Discrimination is illegal, so people suffering from mental or mood disorders must understand that they have legal rights. That said, when someone is in the throes of a mental illness, it can be difficult to navigate issues related to stigma or discrimination.
One thing people can do is to seek out a support group or discuss their condition with their healthcare provider. A general practitioner can provide some support and help the individual find a high-quality treatment center that accepts their insurance. In many cases, stigma comes from failing to understand mental health and its effective management. By talking to those knowledgeable of the mental health field, individuals can get help coping with signs of stigma.
The Importance of Mental Health Treatment
Mental health is vital to our psychological and emotional well-being. Many people experience mental health disruptions over the course of their lives and may even be diagnosed with a mental health condition like depression, anxiety, dual diagnosis, or schizophrenia. Without therapy at a mental health treatment center, symptoms of these conditions can worsen and dramatically alter an individual’s well-being. Today, there are many progressive and effective forms of cognitive behavioral therapy and pharmaceutical treatments that can help people manage their conditions. Ignoring stigma is difficult for some sufferers, but it must be a secondary concern as treatment is the priority.
The best way to deal with the stigma associated with mental health is to discuss your concerns with a mental healthcare provider. These people dedicate their lives to helping people with all types of mental and mood disorders. They can recommend a treatment plan for your diagnosis and provide you with the help and resources for coping with any stigma you may feel or experience as a result of your mental illness.