May is Mental Health Month. In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and the crisis it has created for virtually everyone across the globe, we all need to focus on our mental health as well as our physical health now. For many people, mental health is an everyday challenge they deal with even during “normal” times, just as many people struggle with other chronic diseases. Mental Health Month is a good time to take steps to end the stigma of mental illness.
You Are Not Alone
During Mental Health Month, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) is promoting “You are Not Alone,” a campaign featuring people affected by mental illness in an effort to fight stigma, inspire others, and educate the broader public. As NAMI emphasizes, “Now more than ever before, it is important for the mental health community to come together and show the world that no one should ever feel alone.”
In fact, almost 47 million people in the US suffer from mental illnesses, including:
- 1.1% (2.4 million) of American adults living with schizophrenia
- 2.6% (6.1 million) living with bipolar disorder
- 6.9% (16 million) living with major depression
- 18.1% (42 million) living with anxiety disorders.
Know the Facts
Stigmas are often borne out of myths and rumors. The more you know about mental health, the better able you will be to help yourself and others. The US Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) shares these myths and facts about mental health:
Myth: People with mental health problems are violent and unpredictable.
Fact: Most people with mental illness are not violent and only 3%–5% of violent acts can be attributed to individuals living with a serious mental illness.
Myth: People with mental health needs, even those who are managing their mental illness, cannot tolerate the stress of holding down a job.
Fact: Employers who hire people with mental health problems report good attendance and punctuality as well as motivation, good work, and job tenure on par with or greater than other employees.
Myth: Personality weakness or character flaws cause mental health problems. People with mental health problems can snap out of it if they try hard enough.
Fact: Mental health problems have nothing to do with being lazy or weak and many people need help to get better.
Embrace Others with Compassion
To help end the stigma of mental health, reach out to a loved one or friend who may be suffering from a mental illness. They may also be afraid to talk to anyone, for fear of repercussion. Let them you know you are listening and respect what they are feeling.
If you know someone with a mental illness, you may be tempted to ignore or avoid them because the situation makes you feel uncomfortable. When you know the facts and show compassion to those in your life suffering from a mental health disorder, you are helping to end the stigma and helping them to see that they can get help.
Mental illness does not just disappear on its own. Mental health disorders require proper treatment. When they go untreated, whether out of fear of the stigma attached or for other reasons, the consequences could be dire.
It’s Okay to Ask for Help
Taking steps to end the stigma involves reaching out to get help when you are the one with a mental health disorder. You may be afraid to tell anyone how you are feeling because you are afraid of the repercussions it might bring. Many people just like you push through life, going to work, playing sports, being with family, but carrying a secret and suffering in silence.
Know that there is no shame in having a mental health disorder. It is okay – and critically important – for you to ask for help from a professional. The sooner you talk to someone who can help, the sooner you can overcome the stigma.
The Dual Diagnosis
Sometimes people with mental health disorders also develop substance abuse disorders. Many research studies have found that about half of those who experience a mental illness during their lives will also experience a substance use disorder and vice versa.
BRC Recovery has a large percentage of dual diagnosis clients. We help our clients address their underlying emotional issues and mental health disorders that may lead to addiction or make their addiction worse.
Sophisticated Clinical Offerings at BRC Recovery
Our clients participate in evidence-based therapeutic modalities that are essential to their recovery. We focus on holistic recovery at BRC Recovery. Clinical programming provides insight, increases self-awareness, and instills tools to help you manage your emotions and overcome addiction triggers.
You are not alone. There is help for your addiction and your mental health during COVID-19. We specialize in helping chronic relapsers and those who think they are resistant to treatment. Please call us at 1-866-461-1759 with your questions and to learn more.