Tackling Mental Health Stigma

Tackling Mental Health Stigma

The following article is presented in association with BetterHelp
Musicians and other people with mental health issues are, too often, made to feel worse about their conditions due to negative attitudes towards them from the wider society.

In fact, the stigmatization of mental illnesses can be harder to deal with than the symptoms of the actual condition a person is suffering from and often deters sufferers from wanting to seek help. Studies into the impact of mental illnesses actually show that stigmatization actually makes people sicker and even contribute to them not getting the treatment and support they need.

Types of mental health stigma

People with artistic skills, such as songwriters and performers, are among those who often receive the brunt of societal stigma. For one, there is a common – but disproved – belief that mental illness goes hand in hand with creativity. While research has shown that musicians have a rather high likelihood of being afflicted with mental illnesses – one, in particular, showing that 60% of professional musicians had experienced mental health issues – other studies have revealed that it has nothing to do with creativity.

Another misconception is that lifestyle choices, including overindulgence in drugs, alcohol, food, partying, etc., are usually to blame for creative minds falling victim to mental illnesses. Never mind the fact that some people often turn to these activities in order to cope with their mental conditions in the first place. When singer Paula Abdul spoke out in the 90s about her struggles with bulimia, she noted that she turned to food in order to cope with the anxiety and depression she faced from as early as 16-years-old.

Other misconceptions that lead to stigmatization of mental health issues include:

- The belief that people with schizophrenia have a violent streak

- Thinking bipolar disorder sufferers are prone to making bad decisions

- Believing anxiety and depression are a result of weak-mindedness

Dealing with mental health stigma

Thankfully, more and more people are realizing how damaging the stigma attached to mental illnesses can be to those afflicted, and many are speaking up. In the music fraternity, a number of artists have spoken out against mental health stigma, including Brian Wilson of Beach Boys fame and Irish singer-songwriter Sinead O’Connor.

In addition, programs have been coming to the fore, not just to provide support for sufferers of mental illness, but also to fight the stigma. Another outlet that has become useful in countering the effects of mental illness stigma is the advent of telehealth services. Telehealth involves the use of computers and smart devices to communicate with doctors, therapists, and other health professionals in order to get treatment and advice. Healthcare can, therefore, be delivered remotely and at the patient’s convenience.

Platforms such as BetterHelp, for example, allow people with mental illnesses to easily and discreetly connect with therapists online from the comfort of their homes, offices, or anywhere they are comfortable. This ability to get professional help, through telehealth services, makes it possible for anyone suffering from mental health issues to possibly avoid mental-health-related stigma that might occur if they had to go into a public facility.

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Disclaimer: Please note that the views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of Tunedly.