Coping with the Stigma Around Mental Illness

As students, we have learned about the stigma that comes with mental illness. Sometimes it can be hard to face others due to being a judge for having a mental illness. As students, we need to learn to have open arms for those who have mental illness and understand that the stigma is not okay. Stigma is something that we, as students, should strive to fix, that lack of understanding and awareness makes it harder for those who suffer and can cause them never to seek the medical help.

Mental illness comes in different forms for each person, and we all have our ways of coping with mental illness. Stigma can create fear for individuals; the idea of being labelled makes it harder to ask for help. This can be seen in the way family and friends look at you, the lack of support and understanding from loved ones force you to deal with the stigma and mental illness alone. People who have mental illness are less likely to ask for help due to the stigma surrounding their condition.

Tips for coping with the stigma around mental illness:

  1. Knowing the facts

It is a good idea for you to educate yourself on mental illness, including substance use disorders. It is crucial that you support those who have a mental illness and not judge them, be aware of the stigma associated with mental illness and create a positive environment. The way to deal with mental illness is to learn about the stigma that surrounds the condition.

  1. Getting Treatment

Sometimes you may be reluctant to admit that you need help because of the fear of being labelled. Getting treatment is an essential step since it allows you to realize that it is okay to get help. Therapy helps reduce the symptoms and helps find that regular balance to improve your personal and work life.

  1. Do not let the stigma fester self-doubt and shame

It is essential to know that stigma does not come from others, but it comes from ourselves, we may even think that our illness is a sign of weakness. We also might think that we can control it by ourselves; it is okay for us to ask for help. 

  1. It is not a good idea to isolate yourself

You might be reluctant to share information about yourself to others, even feeling that it is better to be alone than to be around others. Being around those who love you is crucial in times when you think that you should be alone. If there is a chance to reach out and show compassion to those who feel like they should be alone, it can help improve their view of the stigma surrounding their mental illness. 

  1. Getting help at school

It can be hard to face school when dealing with mental illness, the feeling of falling behind since it can affect schoolwork. Some schools offer services to help student who suffer from mental illness without discrimination. Concordia University of Edmonton also supports its students through learning accommodation services, allowing you to succeed within classes and not feel like you are always falling behind.

  1. Speaking out against the stigma

We must learn to speak out against stigma, and the only way to do this is by expressing your views and overcoming the stigma. This can allow for someone to have the courage to face their mental illness. It is essential because it will enable you to educate the public about stigma and mental health in today’s world and how it affects everyone.

We live in a world were being judged is the easiest thing, but we also forget how hurtful it can be to judge others who are struggling. As students facing the world, we need to understand that everyone does not need to be criticized but to feel supported and love through their decisions. Admitting that you aren’t okay is the first step into getting help and knowing that you can have a sound support system at home and school can make it easier to deal with mental illness. We should take mental illness and stigma seriously and not discussing the factors that come with mental illness like stigma can hurt how we approach the topic in the future.

Events to look out for during February provide by CUE Wellness:

Don’t forget to check out the new CUE Wellness page to keep up to date with events, workshops and resources for students | https://sites.google.com/concordia.ab.ca/cue-wellness/home?authuser=0 

By Deborah Olawale

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