NewsSouth Dakota

How to fight stigma about mental health?

For Immediate Release: Tuesday, September 20, 2022
DSS Media Contact: dssmedia@state.sd.us or 605.773.3165
 
 How to fight stigma about mental health?
 
PIERRE – Concern about being treated differently leads some people to avoid or delay seeking treatment for their mental health. Stigma causes people to feel ashamed for something that is out of their control, contributing to worsening symptoms, lower self-esteem, social isolation, and reduced hope. Stigma not only affects those with mental illness, but the loved ones who support them.
 
The stigma around mental health is one of the leading barriers to accessing help and support, especially in rural areas. Normalizing the conversation about mental health and seeking help is the first step in creating change. During Suicide Prevention Month we need to raise our voices against stigma. Below are eight actionable ways to take a stand.
 
 
Remind people that words matter. Instead of saying “he is schizophrenic,” say “he has a mental illness” or “he has schizophrenia.” Using these terms emphasizes that the person “has” a problem rather than “is” the problem. 
 
If we can get others to understand that mental illness is a disease, they may think twice before making comments.
 
Be a role model by showing compassion to others.
 
 
Normalize mental health treatment, just like other health care treatment.
 
You can make a difference by simply knowing that mental illness is not anyone’s fault.
 
Fear of mental illness is often rooted in a lack of education and understanding.
 
If you or a loved one is struggling with a mental health challenge, please visit dss.sd.gov or call the South Dakota Treatment Resource Hotline at 1-800-920-4343.
 
If you or a loved one is experiencing a mental health crisis, 988 is available 24/7 to provide free and confidential care. Just call, text or chat 988. 

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