It’s time to deconstruct stigmas surrounding mental health

X-ray Staff

Efforts to normalize and talk about mental illness have been reasonably effective in recent years, at least enough to a point we feel comfortable sitting in psychology classes learning about them.

It’s common to know at least one person who suffers from a mental health disorder. We’ve heard talk about mental health disorders like depression and anxiety becoming more common in recent years, but is this really the case, or are cases of these conditions just reported more often in today’s world?

We’ve done the work to normalize these disorders. It’s time to humanize them.

When it comes to the past tense, having learned to cope with mental illness is something that is praised and signifies strength—but when it comes to talking about the topic in present tense, what changes?

If we want to better address the matter of depression, whether amplified by the pandemic, social media or some other factor, it is imperative that we recognize the areas in which we are able to change the things that aren’t working.

Sure, awareness regarding mental health does exist, but the problem we are facing now is the stigma surrounding disorders like anxiety, depression, PTSD, ODC, and many more disorders.

Feeding the stigma surrounding these disorders is the most harmful thing we can do for those who struggle with their mental health.

Stereotypes have been ingrained into our society for years, and while it’s easy for little pieces of these stereotypes to slip through into our daily conversations, this doesn’t offset the harm they do.

We seem to have handled the presence of neurodivergence in conditions such as ADHD, dyslexia and autism well enough to make accommodations to things such as standardized testing by providing additional time to students with proof of diagnosis.

We often welcome discussion of this kind of neurodiversity, but why is it different when it comes to depression, anxiety, PTSD and other mental disorders?

The more the stigma behind mental disorders persists, the harder it becomes for people who struggle with these disorders to speak out.

With rates of teen depression as high as we saw in the CDC report, we can’t afford to sweep this issue under the rug time and time again.

It’s hard to find one solution to the deep-seated problem surrounding stigma. Mental health is something that is so unique, and a one-size fits all approach is not going to be the way something changes.

One place to start is to deconstruct the traces of harmful stereotypes you may incorporate into your daily life. In expanding your knowledge of mental health and its related disorders, you can come to understand the reality of mental illness.

Furthermore, educating ourselves on these topics helps us humanize mental health disorders. People are not their disorders; people with depression are not “depressed people,” just as any other aspect of a person does not become their personhood.