We Need to End the Stigma Surrounding Mental Health
Publicly acknowledging mental health is poorly received by society as there is a stigma surrounding the discussion of mental health. This stigma primarily arises from the misperception of mental health disorders meaning that someone has a problem. Unfortunately, the lack of acknowledgment of the importance of mental health inhibits the growth of people who are affected by mental health disorders. Because society does not allow for open conversations about mental health, those who want to seek mental health treatment may face difficulties finding sufficient resources and support to seek help.
The Stigma of Mental Health Treatment
The existing stigma of mental health comes from the fear of judgment by not only peers but also the self. People who seek therapy may feel or be viewed as dysfunctional and less capable of managing their stress and emotional health (Owen). This internal and external barrier needs to be broken so that people can comfortably receive the help that they need. Additionally, mental health treatment can be a very long process, so it is extra important for people to be open about their mental health in order to start the process before any mental health disorder goes untreated and becomes worse.
What is Therapy?
Part of any stigma comes from a lack of understanding about a certain subject. Regarding therapy for mental health, the term ‘therapy’ is so broadly defined that it encompasses various types of therapy for any type of mental health treatment. There are several types of psychologists that someone with a mental health disorder can seek therapy. Behaviorists are a very common type of therapist that focuses on changing the routine and actions of an individual to better their mental state. Counseling therapists are another very general type of therapist that focuses on every aspect of the health of an individual in order to improve the distress of the patient. Cognitive therapists encourage the patient to focus more on their thinking and enforce positive thinking to help the management of emotions and problem solving to avoid triggering situations. Clinical therapists have the goal of helping their patients identify mental health disorders and develop a plan to treat these issues. People may incorrectly assume that therapy just means that you sit in a room and talk because of the generalized portrayal of psychologists in the media, but the reality is that there are several types of therapists for varying needs of someone seeking help for mental health issues.
Psychiatry is not Psychology, but Both are Valid
A major factor of mental health treatments that are often overlooked in media is psychiatry. Psychiatrists differ from psychologists as they are medical doctors who focus on providing appropriate medications as treatments rather than a form of physical, face-to-face therapy. Some people find psychologists are not an effective route to treat their mental health disorders, so they end up seeing a psychiatrist who can offer medicinal treatments. Some people directly seek psychiatric services because they know that therapy is not or will not be an effective treatment. Using the medication as a treatment for mental health issues is long by itself because the medicine can take around a month to make a difference, and there are different medicines with different doses which creates a long process of trial and error.
Stop the Stigma
Without having the knowledge or being able to have a conversation to gain the knowledge of the world of mental health treatments, it’s difficult to find any treatment let alone a proper treatment for a mental health disorder. Because of the severity of mental health disorders and the long treatment process, it is extremely important for society to recognize the validity of mental health and acknowledge the importance of seeking mental health treatments. Mental health, in general, is still too misunderstood, and this stigma needs to be ended. Mental health disorders do not render someone incapable, especially when they can comfortably seek proper treatment.