8 Tips for Dealing With Mental Health Stigma (Discrimination)

Stan Popovich, on The Huffington Post, shared his 8 tips for dealing with mental health stigma (I prefer the word discrimination).

  1. Talk to a counsellor– “Seeking professional help will help you to overcome your current issues. In addition, a counselor will be able to give you additional advice on how to deal with your friends and coworkers.”
  2. Don’t argue with others-“It is not your job to convince people that you are right and they are wrong. Your health is more important than what other people may think.”
  3. Watch who you hang out with– “It is important to surround yourself with positive people. Try to keep your distance from those people who are giving you a difficult time.”
  4. You are not alone– “There are millions of people around the world who struggle with their fears, anxieties, depression, and stresses. The key is to find those people who can relate to you through various support groups in your area.”
  5. Stand your ground– “It is important to stand your ground when dealing with family members and coworkers who are giving you a hard time. Explain your situation and your feelings to the people in your life, however don’t let them hassle you.”
  6. Join a support group– “These support groups will be supportive of your situation and give you additional advice regarding your problems. Joining a support group is very important in a person’s recovery and ability to find people who can relate to you.”
  7. Learn to take it one day at a time– “Instead of worrying about how you will get through the rest of the week or coming month, try to focus on today. Each day can provide us with different opportunities to learn new things and that includes learning how to deal with your problems.”
  8. Don’t give up– “You will not get better if you sit on the couch and don’t make an effort to get better. You need to know that you will eventually get better. Do not lose hope even during the worse of times. You problems will not last forever, and things do eventually change for the better.”

This is a good list. These are all strategies we should engage in but I find the strategies on this list to be very passive and more so putting pressure on the individual to handle other people’s stupidity. I would like to add a tip to this list.

9. Become a mental health advocate.

Critically and constructively challenge discriminatory views. Educate others about your experience and the experience of others. Help friends and family learn where they have learned what they know about mental health. Start a blog, tumblr, Twitter, Facebook page, group, etc that puts the truth out there and supports recovery.

Becoming a mental health advocate is what has helped me the most and I have seen the power I have to show people another way of thinking and being. I know this kind of work is not for everyone but every little bit counts.

Do you have any tips for dealing with mental health discrimination?

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7 thoughts on “8 Tips for Dealing With Mental Health Stigma (Discrimination)

  1. i have taken number 9 to heart in my other life. as you can imagine ‘princess marksalot’ is just my pen name… it has affected me a great deal & i find that outside my blog, being bipolar isn’t easy, I am really helping others – people that i can touch and feel! advocacy is a great thing!

  2. A big one for me was learning not to take the things people said or did personally. Reminding myself that the discrimination was coming from a place of fear and misunderstanding (or even bad humor) and not because the other person was “out to get me” has helped me, in turn, feel less fear and more understanding when I am being discriminated against. While this doesn’t excuse discrimination, it does help me forgive it and move on when it happens.

  3. Thank you for sharing this. The stigma is the hardest part of dealing with the diagnosis. In order for DBT to be successful, we have to accept ourselves. Acceptance then change, right? It took me 4 years to accept my diagnosis – because of the stigma. I am really grateful for your courage in being open and sharing information about the disorder. I am still working on my courage.

    My psychology professor blew my mind in Psych1 yesterday. After what he said, it’s easy to understand why the stigma is so stubbornly prevalent. In front of an auditorium packed with 300 students, he said that in his experience as a forensic psychologist, he saw a lot of BPs in the criminal justice system and that “the jails are full of them.” He also said that BPs have no impulse control and will bash you over the head with a beer bottle if you say the slightest thing wrong.

    You bet I responded. Here’s how: https://highontheborderline.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=62&action=edit

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