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?

Mentally Ill Does Not Equal Suicidal Slut

kslutwalk

Saturday July 12 was SlutWalk Toronto 2014. I proudly shared my experience of being labelled with a mental illness and being a young woman.

When I first entered high school I was known as the “suicidal cutter” and then when I began having sex I was called the “suicidal slut”. At no point was support offered to me by those who felt the need to call me names. Their sole intention was to shame me for self harming, being depressed and having sex. To some I was even considered “exotic” because they thought that having sex with me would be some unique experience because I was labelled as mentally ill.

I am glad to have a platform, like SlutWalk, to share this experience.

30 Day Mental Illness Awareness Challenge- Day 10

Day 10: What is the best thing in regards to your mental illness(es)?

The best thing in regards to my mental health issue would be my anger. Once I became angry (instead of depressed) I began to stand30 day challenge up for myself and express when I felt uncomfortable with something. While I do not always express it in the right way it has given me opportunities to learn better ways to communicate with others that many will probably never learn due to the believe that they are normal and I am not.

My anger also drove me to pursue mental health activism. The anger turned into passion and when I see or experience an injustice I want to fight it. My anger makes me want to do something which I didn’t experience when I was depressed. When I was on an antidepressant and was less angry I found that my desire to help others and fight discrimination was drastically reduced. Since ending the medication the anger has returned and I fell more up to the challenge again.

While anger does make my life difficult and at times unbearable, the positives have been very positive.

Previously: Day 9

Mad Pride 2014

madpride2014

Mad Pride Week is upon us in Toronto!

Check out the amazing events!

http://www.madprideto.com/events.php

 

Mad Pride Toronto seeks to bring mentally ill into the mainstream

The July 7-14 pride celebration, which will mount events across the city, aims to destigmatize mental illness.

By: Daniel Baird Published on Tue Jul 01 2014

Mad Pride Toronto 2014, alluding as it does to Pride Toronto, is a celebration of the contributions to art, culture, and society of people labelled “mentally ill,” and a call for the end of stigma. It will take place between July 7 and 13. Like the use of the word “queer” in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender communities, the “mad” in Mad Pride is an irreverent reappropriation of a pejorative word.

The stigma attached to people with mental illnesses is similar to that associated with lesbian, gay, and transgender people, especially in the past: people with mental illness are queer, abnormal, strange, unfit to participate in ordinary society, unstable, unpredictable, and often dangerous.

Read the full article: http://www.thestar.com/opinion/commentary/2014/07/01/mad_pride_toronto_seeks_to_bring_mentally_ill_into_the_mainstream.html

Sanism: Dr. Jennifer Poole at TEDxRyersonU

Jennifer Poole is a friend and colleague of mine. She is a member of The Madvocates which is the first consumer/survivor group I ever joined and worked with. It is because of Jennifer that I was introduced to sanism, Madness and the idea that I can create extreme and positive change within the mental health system. She is an amazing woman and I owe much of who I am today to what she has taught me over the years and the work we have done together!

Enjoy her TED Talk!

Also check out her book Behind the Rhetoric: Mental Health Recovery in Ontario and her piece in Mad Matters: A Critical Reader in Canadian Mad Studies

Better, But Not Good

As the withdrawal symptoms subside I am feeling better. Emotionally, up until today, for now, I have been feeling a tad suicidal and unsafe. After a fun night out and presenting a successful workshop on BPD I do feel better. I do hope that I feel better then better soon because there is nothing fun about sitting around wanting to die. I hope to get my spark back that was taken from me while on Effexor; the part of me that wanted to fight the evil-doers and right the wrongs of the world. My activism greatly decreased while on Effexor. I was too busy being sad and sad is unproductive. As soon as I feel that drive kick back in I have some pictures to share with you all and I’m interested in your feedback 🙂

No matter how long you have #traveled in the wrong #direction, you can always turn around. ~ #Positive #quote

$5 Flags for LGBTQ Allies!

An amazing couple I know (Pascal and Sarah) are targets of a hate crime. They are amazing people who do great activist work and I have the privilege of speaking about mental health in their class on Canadian Homelessness as well as sitting on a board of directors with them.

Their response to the homophobic hate crime is to hold a BBQ and hand out $100 Pride flags!

Please help in any way you can!!

$5 Flags for LGBTQ Allies! (Indiegogo)

Homes flying pride flags hit by vandals 

Pascal and Sarah’s amazing Pride flags outside their home 🙂