Healthy Living: Help stop the stigma about mental health conditions – Norwich Bulletin

By Katie Ramos, For The Bulletin


The month of May has been observed as Mental Health Awareness Month, with the goal to raise awareness, to stop the stigma, to advocate, educate and support individuals and their families living with mental illness.

There are many individuals living with mental health conditions worldwide, yet a large number of individuals with a known diagnosis never seek treatment. For some of these individuals, the barrier to seeking treatment is the stigma associated with mental illness and the fear of how theyll be perceived by friends, family, co-workers or those living in their communities.

By stopping the stigma and raising awareness about mental health, we support those individuals that may be experiencing self-doubt and shame. What can you do to help stop the stigma? Talk about it, having open conversation surrounding mental illness normalizes the topic. Choose your words carefully; an individual is not defined by their diagnosis. Offer encouragement, praise someone for reaching out and communicating. Educate, by offering education its an opportunity to raise awareness and support to those that may be apprehensive about seeking treatment.

By getting treatment one can identify ways to cope, manage and reduce symptoms that may be interfering with their everyday activities, ultimately improving their quality of life.

We as a community can offer support by being encouraging, understanding, empathic and mindful that our mental health can be affected regardless of a diagnosis. Its important to recognize that everyone encounters challenges or situations during their lifetime that can impact their mental health, such as environmental factors, chronic illness, physical health and situations that cannot be anticipated, such as the current pandemic. In these times of uncertainty its important to remember that there is help available and if you or someone you know is struggling reach out to a healthcare professional to explore your options.

Katie Ramos is behavioral Health Services Practice manager at UCFS Healthcare.

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Healthy Living: Help stop the stigma about mental health conditions - Norwich Bulletin

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