Overcoming the Stigma of Mental Illness posted on: 10-14-2016

mental healthIt’s long been a hush-hush topic, and the stigmas continue today, but mental illness, in one form or another, affects at least tens of millions of Americans. In honor of National Mental Health Month, we at North River Home Care want to help those struggling with mental illness to break the chains of silence, and in particular, to encourage them to seek the treatment that can improve quality of life.

Slowly but surely, movie stars and others in the limelight are beginning to honestly and vulnerably share their struggles with such debilitating illnesses as depression and anxiety. But we still have a long way to go. Less understood and more negatively viewed illnesses, such as psychosis and schizophrenia, are still often covered over. In fact, research obtained from the National Institutes of Health shows that a psychosis diagnosis is the most highly stigmatized and discriminated against type of mental health issue.

Frighteningly, this fear of stigmatization is creating “a pervasive barrier that prevents many individuals in the U.S. from engaging in mental health care,” according to a 2014 literature review published in the Administration and Policy in Mental Health and Mental Health Services journal.

So, how can we help those with mental health concerns feel safe in sharing their struggles, enabling them to receive the treatment they need? Several mental health advocacy organizations are making strides. For example, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) has created the Stigmafree Pledge to help foster awareness and acceptance. And, the American Psychological Association (APA) has launched an educational journal, Stigma and Health.

For more assistance with mental health issues and how home care can help, contact North River Home Care.