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How Professionals Overcome the Stigma of Mental Illness

How Professionals Overcome the Stigma of Mental Illness

Mental health is an important concern for everyone, even though most of us usually focus on physical health. Even so, psychological illnesses and mental disorders can affect anyone at any time in their lives. The problem is that mental health is still a taboo topic and suffering from a mental disorder can often lead others to attach negative stigmas. Returning to work after receiving treatment is never easy, but there are ways professionals can handle the misconceptions still associated with these kinds of illnesses.

Discuss The Condition Openly

Colleagues will undoubtedly know about the condition, though they may be relying on misinformation. If they begin asking about the mental illness, don’t immediately assume it’s with judgement. They may just be curious. Talk openly about the condition and provide factual information. As colleagues learn this first-hand knowledge and hear more more about the experiences, acceptance replaces the stigma. Most people are familiar with depression and anxiety, but may not fully understand when these conditions become debilitating.

Correct Inappropriate Language

Often, people use terms that identify mental disorders, but place them in a bad light. Even if their intention isn’t to be demeaning or insulting, the words people use can influence others. For this reason, it’s important to correct the use of inappropriate terms whenever they are being used. By correcting the use of terms to more accurate and appropriate language, people learn to respect the condition and that will help them change their views.

Teach Acceptance

Even in a professional atmosphere, people don’t lend the same weight to mental illness as they do to physical illnesses. In addition to speaking openly about a specific condition,  take opportunities to educate co-workers about mental disorders in general. Look for ways to show them that mental and physical illnesses are both very real problems that require medical treatments. Just as we go to a medical doctor to get treatment for a physical injury or illness, a therapist or psychiatrist can help treat mental and emotional illnesses.

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Don’t Hide Your Ongoing Treatment

There’s no rule that says you have to be cured to function normally in society. Doctors will inform patients if there’s a reason not to return to work, and there’s no shame in therapy. Most people suffering from a mental health condition need ongoing therapy, medications, and other treatments throughout their lives. Your co-workers will have more respect for completely honest and openness about treatment requirements.

Don’t Add to Your Own Stigma

Many people create a worse situation for themselves when they feed into the stigma they observe from others. If feeling ashamed of a condition it will affect self-esteem and an ability to perform well at work. Remember no one has done anything to deserve the illness and that treatment will help. Seek to accomplish goals and be celebrate achievements. As successes begin to stand out and people recognize the positive again, mental health issues are no longer front and center.

Seek Out a Support Group

The stigma surrounding mental health conditions doesn’t just come from others. In addition to looking for ways to overcome your self-imposed stigma, seek out the support of others. Joining a group that brings together many people who are suffering from the same mental disorder helps people see that they are not defined by their illness. The mutual support offered to one another lets people build each other  up and the group may host community events that will help educate the public about the condition.

Don’t Hide From Others

People suffering from a mental disorder often assume that others, especially professional contacts, won’t understand. They deal with this fear by hiding, or isolating themselves from others. This only makes matters worse on both a professional and a personal level. You’ll end up withdrawing from society out of fear, when open communication is really the best thing for you. As you begin talking to people about your condition, you may find that they’re more accepting than you expected.
The only real way to eliminate public stigma about mental health disorders is to discuss the issues openly. Whether you speak openly with your colleagues, on social media, or at public events, destroying myths with facts is essential. Speaking frankly about your illness will help people understand and that will eliminate their fears.

Treatment for mental health issues and addictions is available. There is a range of therapies recovery centers use, from behavioral therapies to cognitive behavioral therapy to psychotherapy and medication. Our Professionals Treatment Program was designed by professionals for professionals using the best practices proven to change lives.

Call the Center For Professional Recovery today: 855-422-4129

 

Sources:
https://www.nami.org/Blogs/NAMI-Blog/October-2017/9-Ways-to-Fight-Mental-Health-Stigma
https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/mental-illness/in-depth/mental-health/art-20046477

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