In honor of World Mental Health Day, I want to bring awareness to prioritizing your mental health. Your mental health is an extremely important part of your health and it significantly impacts your ability to change your physical health. Balance between the two is necessary to thrive.
What is stigma?
As a child with obsessive compulsive disorder, I experienced stigma around mental health issues. There are two types of stigma: public stigma and self-stigma.
⭐ Public stigma, AKA social stigma, refers to the negative stereotypes people hold against those with a mental health diagnosis. I was seen as “different” by family, friends, and teachers. It was as if they tiptoed around me and it increased my anxiety.
⭐ Self-stigma is when a person internalizes the negative stereotypes associated with their mental health problem. I grew up feeling “different,” needing therapy when the rest of my friends were simply being kids.This led to low self-esteem, guilt, and feeling hopeless.
Stigma can cause avoidance of seeking help. What can we do to reduce stigma?
⭐ Encourage awareness & education
Mental health problems affect people of all ages. Asking for help and seeking therapy is a sign of strength, not weakness.
⭐ Mental health maintenance
I encourage therapy just like you would see your primary care physician, to check in and maintain your overall health, not to be reserved for when you have hit a low point.
⭐ Be aware of & process your emotions
It is when we ignore our emotions or stuff them down that our mental health, and consequently our physical health, takes a turn.
Most people have struggled with mental health problems at one point in their lives – anxiety, depression, addiction, post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, phobias, etc. It isn’t always easy to describe or diagnose. It’s often misunderstood. Today is an excellent reminder that we must continue to reduce the stigma and encourage discussion around positive mental health so we can realize our full potential.
If you are seeking mental health guidance, book an appointment with me today. I’m here to help. You are not alone.