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It is Okay to Not be Okay: Breaking Down the Stigma Around Mental Health

CW: This article discusses topics of mental illness and suicide which could be distressing to some readers.

Even when surrounded by 1000 people, we can feel alone in this world — a sense of numbness and a lack of concern for our own well-being. Is it normal to feel this way? The answer to that is yes. You should not feel bad about how you feel because it is normal to feel this way! We should all strive to eliminate these social stigmas so that we can feel acceptable enough to seek help for ourselves or others in need.

Why is Mental Health Stigmatised?

Mental health is something that is so common yet so stigmatised in society. Mental health is a state of well-being in which an individual recognises their own abilities, can cope with their own normal stresses of life, and has the ability to contribute to their society. Depression, anxiety, body image, and PTSD are all just a few examples of mental health issues.

So why is mental health stigmatised?

So if it is so common why is there such a negative association with having mental health issues?

The question that keeps coming back to us is why mental health is stigmatised in the first place, and the simple answer is stereotypes and the media.

Isn't it true that people with poor mental health are stereotyped as "dangerous"? However, those who suffer from depression are more likely to be victims of violence or to harm themselves. They are extremely unlikely to cause harm to others! And, on top of this already negative mindset, the media exaggerates it by portraying them as people who are unable to live a normal and functioning life.

We need to change this now!

Can we change these stigmas?

It is about time for us all to decide to make a positive collective change. It is not difficult to change these stereotypes, but we must all put in our fair share of effort.

Even asking someone how they are doing could go a long way toward dispelling these stigmas. The person will then realise that at least one person cares. Schools and workplaces could promote education about mental health and the stigmas associated with it.

It is true that more and more effort is being put into doing this type of thing these days. Campaigns such as the Time to Change campaign, as well as organisations such as See Me, have been started up to begin the destigmatisation of mental health.

If this article tickles your interest, you might be interested in reading about how mental health is commonly associated with other groups of people, such as the LGBTIQ+.

Tips for a Better Mental Wellbeing

When you are going through a difficult time, you are probably told to "cheer up" or "everyone goes through this in their lives." But this is not what you want to hear, is it? You just want someone to listen to your problems or give you the courage to seek help. Positive thinking, among other things, will greatly improve your mood. If we can turn this pessimism into optimism, it might help to make your day a little brighter.

Here are 7 tips that may help you feel slightly better and hope to create a positive mindset:

  1. Giving Others Compliments: It has been proven that giving other people compliments makes us feel happy too

  2. Practice Mindfulness: Allow yourself time to breathe and be relaxed

  3. A Journal Day Keeps The Sadness Away: Taking 10 minutes out of your day to write up how it went will put the positive and negatives of the day into perspective

  4. Practice Being Kind To Yourself: If you tell yourself that you are worth something every day in the mirror - you will begin to live the life that you want to

  5. Try and Lead a Mentally Healthy Life: Try taking up activities like yoga, pilates or something that you genuinely love and enjoy

  6. Embrace Humour: Don't feel scared to laugh

  7. Try Not To Feel Isolated and Surround Yourself With Positive People: Simply have more of a conscious effort in meeting with people who make you happy and give out positive energy

Most importantly be kind to yourself!


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