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Shhhhhhh…Don’t tell anyone!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Shhhhhhh…Don’t tell anyone!

Mental Health Stigma

Even with all the education and information that has been done to combat the mental health stigma in our 21st century culture, there still remains this “not so secret, secret.” I find it fascinating that we can converse with relative ease, telling friends and family members of our aches and pains. Sometimes we even tell of our latest surgery…in detail! We find ourselves comparing with others the various kinds of medication with take from blood pressure medication to the latest diet pill. But when it comes to mental health issues, we “clam up” or whisper.

In an article in “Psychology Today,” (August 20, 2013), Graham C.L. Davey, Ph.D. helps define the stigma in today’s culture by writing, “Mental health stigma can be divided into two distinct types: social stigma is characterized by prejudicial attitudes and discriminating behavior directed towards individuals with mental health problems as a result of the psychiatric label they have been given. In contrast, perceived stigma or self-stigma is the internalizing by the mental health sufferer of their perceptions of discrimination (Link, Cullen, Struening & Shrout, 1989), and perceived stigma can significantly affect feelings of shame and lead to poorer treatment outcomes (Perlick, Rosenheck, Clarkin, Sirey et al., 2001).” 

Even with all the education and information that has been done to combat the mental health stigma in our 21st century culture, there still remains this “not so secret, secret.” I find it fascinating that we can converse with relative ease, telling friends and family members of our aches and pains. Sometimes we even tell of our latest surgery…in detail! We find ourselves comparing with others the various kinds of medication with take from blood pressure medication to the latest diet pill. But when it comes to mental health issues, we “clam up” or whisper.

During the course of a year, more than 54 million Americans are affected by one or more mental disorders. Mental illness is no respecter of persons. The rich, the poor, those who live in the city, rural, or suburban areas of the country, male, female, young, old, all can be affected by mental illness. The good news is that with all the advancements in medicine and research, we know more about mental illness than ever before. 

There is hope. You are not alone. Talk to your doctor, a family member, a friend. We, here at New Hope stand ready to help when you reach out to us. Call us at 573-860-1601(2). Help and hope is just a phone call away.

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