Dodgy attitudes in society not only increase suffering when people are at their most vulnerable.
Poor understanding and misconceptions also prevent many from seeking help that is available.Whatever the problem, most mental health conditions can be cured or significantly improved with the right treatment, yet most people either don’t look for help when they need it, or they don’t get effective treatment.
Each year a quarter of adults will be affected by mental health problems. MIND’s Stigma Shout Survey showed that almost 90% of them have been negatively affected by stigma, and 60% say that prejudice and discrimination are as damaging as their symptoms. Now, you can sign up to be part of the solution.
What to do
Step 1: First examine your own beliefs about mental health matters, then open the discussion with friends, family and colleagues. Find out what others think and keep the conversation going. Discussion normalises difference and reduces stigma.
Remember, everybody has some psychological difficulties at some point in their lives. Mostly we cope well and manage these in silence. We accept the pain of loss, the anxiety caused by uncertainty, and fear of the unknown. Working through these is part of life’s normal developmental process. But a quarter of us will not manage so well. We’ll reach a point where we could really use some help. But most won’t ask for it. Held back by wrong-headed beliefs and fearing the attitudes of those around them, they will soldier on and suffer alone. Sometimes, as we know, this has dire consequences.
Step 2: Another thing you can do is to add your name to MIND’s Time to Change pledgewall. This takes just a few seconds, simply add your name and picture (if you are too shy, modest or ashamed of your appearance you can leave out the picture).
As I often say, “Intention creates opportunity”. Do something different. Join me and sign up to MIND’s campaign. If you are outside the UK you can still take the information from MIND’s website and start a conversation in your community. The figures won’t be much different in your country.
MIND’s Stigma Shout Survey