Why People are Afraid to Talk about Mental Health

No one wants to be a stigma.

People who experience mental health can feel alone. They have no one to talk to that may understand what is going on. Talking to friends and family members can be beneficial but not relatable. At first, a person may not want to admit they have an illness (I witness this all the time at work). But with the education and tools to understanding their illness, they slowly start to accept why they are hospitalized and appreciate the help when it is time for them to leave. It’s important to not only inform someone what they have but to give them an understanding that they too can conquer their mental illness. Sadly enough, we live in a society that gives mental health a stigma, which makes it difficult for people to get help and accept treatment.

Why does society do this? What’s the purpose? We march for health issues but when it comes to mental health we give the side eye. 

Some people act as if mental health does not exist. Others have no desire to be a part of the topic because they feel that the matter is not important to them. It is easy to talk about mental health when a disaster happens, but that’s not the ONLY time we need to talk about it. Mental health should be a part of daily conversations. People should obtain mental health resources without feeling like an outcast or think the world is judging them. Mental health is just as important as our medical health and it’s time society takes this topic seriously.

We have to do better for our community and generations after us

When a tragedy is caused by someone who experienced a mental break, it’s common to be shocked. After we learn they experience mental illness we hear a few things about their diagnoses and that’s it. But why wait for things to get to that point? If a person is not taking care of themselves mentally, it can lead to harming themselves or others or worse, death.

What is mental health? For starters, it’s something society seems to have a hard time understanding. How can anyone accept something when we don’t understand it?

According to MentalHealth.govMental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices. Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood.” 

Stigma and Discrimination Around Mental Health and Substance Use Problems-By Here to Help 

If you sit in a room with twenty people, some of them can tell you their experience with Mental Health. Individuals have family members who suffer from depression, siblings that have anxiety, or friends who have bipolar. Mental Health is real and it is time for this topic to be socially discussed.

Saying no one wants to talk about mental health is a strong statement, I know. However, where can someone go when they are dealing with their issues? People don’t like to admit this but America has a problem, and it’s not a small one. Mental health is here to stay. People suffer from depression, anxiety, PTSD, the list goes on and on. People go into psychiatric hospitals every day to get stabilized, participate in outpatient treatment programs, visit with a psychiatrist and therapist, and still have trouble managing their mental health. Why is that?

Mental Health is REAL and it does not discriminate

Just because you cannot see the scars does not mean it is not there. This is one of the reasons why people have a difficult time understanding mental health. Some people who are depressed cannot physically say they are depressed, others who experience anxiety disorder may only show it when they are in a situation where their anxiety flares up. If someone is taking medications regarding their illness and are stable, no one will know about it. They look fine, can appear to be living a great life, but deep down inside they struggle. Anything can cause mental illness, this is why it should be heavily talked about in our doctor’s office, in communities, churches etc. Mental health is real and no one is exempt from it. Mental health is not like a bruise we can physically watch heal. We have to listen to those who are experiencing a mental illness and take what they say seriously. If you have a friend that needs to vent and appears down all the time, help them come up with solutions. You can always advise them to see a counselor or seek any kind of professional mental health. Be their support system and stand by their side when they are in need of it.

There are people in this world that think because something does not upset them, it should not upset someone else. The way one person handles a situation does not mean everyone will handle it the same. People are divergent, we have different feelings and handle circumstances the best way we see fit. This is a key thing we need to understand and be sensitive to people who encounter issues and life changing events in their lives. The more support and encouragement someone has regarding their mental illness, the better chances they will have to conquer their illness and beat that stupid mental health stigma.

No one likes to be stigmatized. That is why people are afraid to talk about mental health. Let’s turn this around and make mental health a common topic. If you know someone who is experiencing mental health issues please go to my RESOURCE PAGE for support. You could be the person who changes their view on mental illness. So join me and be a part of diminishing the mental health stigma.

Community Convo: 
What are your thoughts about Mental Health? What have you experience and do you find yourself reserved when this topic comes up in conversations? Why or why not? 

-Jamie Rockymore-Bess

3 thoughts on “Why People are Afraid to Talk about Mental Health”

  1. Stigma is very much a barrier to openly discussing mental and emotional wellness; however, trust and structural barriers also impede access to care and open dialogue about this topic. As a mental health professional I’ve heard countless erroneous messages about addressing mental health needs particularly in the African American community. People of color are at greater risk for mental health conditions and are under represented in mental health treatment arenas. Advancement in policy and funding is certainty needed as well as increased public awareness of the prevalence and relevance of mental health needs. THank you for this blog

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words. I totally agree about the African American community. There is such a misrepresentation of mental health, and I am at the point where I am sick of it. Sadly the only people who understand are those who suffer from mental illness and mental health professionals. In due time we are going to turn it around!

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