Why We Need to Destigmatize Mental Health Issues

Though nearly 44 million American adults face mental illness in any given year, there remains a persistent stigma around the challenges associated with health problems such as anxiety, depression and bipolar disorder. If you have a mental illness, there’s a chance someone in your life has dismissed it as “just a phase,” or even asked you, “Why can’t you snap out of it?” These misunderstandings can be a tremendous additional source of pain for people who are already struggling to carry such heavy burdens.

While our society has made some progress recently toward erasing the stigma and shame around mental health, we still have a long way to go to achieve the understanding that mental health issues can affect anyone from any walk of life, and that people who suffer from these problems are not dangerous or unpredictable. Most importantly, people need to know it is possible to learn to manage the symptoms of these conditions and go on to lead a happy and fulfilling life.

People Who Need Help Should Not Be Afraid to Admit It

One of the most persistent problems surrounding the stigmas associated with mental health challenges is that people living with them can be too ashamed to speak up and seek the life-changing treatment they need. Having an untreated disorder can be costly, not only in terms of your overall well-being, but also in your relationships with others.

Even those who do eventually get help may wait longer than they should to enter therapy. Part of this problem may stem from a reluctance to admit that they can’t go it alone any longer, but the shame surrounding mental health also can make it more difficult for people to understand where to turn when they are ready for treatment.

How We’re Making Progress

Our society has made some much-needed progress in destigmatizing mental illness over the past several years. As we have more honest conversations about mental health issues, it is helping open people’s minds and hearts to the idea that all of us are equally vulnerable.

One factor that has helped accelerate the momentum around the movement is the number of celebrities who have stepped forward to be honest about the struggles they have had.

  • “I have anxiety. I’ve always had anxiety,” actor Ryan Reynolds said. “Both in the lighthearted ‘I’m anxious about this’ kind of thing, and I’ve been to the depths of the darker end of the spectrum, which is not fun.”
  • “I found that, with depression, one of the most important things you could realize is that you’re not alone,” actor and former WWE star Dwayne Johnson said in a YouTube video. “You’re not the first to go through it; you’re not going to be the last to go through it.”
  • For Mental Health Awareness Month, The Players Tribune compiled a list of articles that athletes from across the sports landscape have written about their challenges with mental health, including NFL player Gerald McRath and NBA teammates Kevin Love and Channing Frye.

When You Have Health, You Have Hope

If you are living with a dual diagnosis of mental health issues alongside a substance abuse disorder, we are here to heal you. At Spearhead Lodge, we provide treatment for young men that provides the tools needed to realize a happy and healthy life. Reach out to us today to learn more about starting your treatment at our Austin, Texas, facility.