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May 22, 2017

Mental Health Awareness Month- Remove the Stigma

Video by Jeanie Chang, MA, LMFTA, CCTP.

1 in every 4 people experience mental health issues. However, there’s still stigma and discrimination surrounding a mental health diagnosis. How can we avoid feeding into the stigma and discrimination of a mental health diagnosis?

1. Don’t define a person or yourself by a mental illness. We don’t define someone by their tumor or cancer, do we? What makes a mental health diagnosis different? The brain is complex and there’s a lot of things going on but just because one thing is going wrong, doesn’t mean everything is going wrong.

2. Separate the person from the problem – known as externalization. Separating the person from the problem, honors and respects the person/individual. We don’t walk around saying, “She is breast cancer or “He is brain tumor.” Externalizing refers to the diagnosis as separate from the person. For example, “She has Bipolar Disorder or “He suffers from Schizophrenia” instead of saying – “She is Bipolar” or “He is Schizophrenic.”

3. Reach out to family and friends – your support network – if you’re feeling down or overwhelmed with anxiety/stress. Remember that time your friend was down or struggling, you reached out and talked to him/her and they felt a little bit better. In addition, reaching out and talking about your emotions, helps you get comfortable with them. The more you share openly, the more others will be able to as well.

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