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Our Mental Health Blogs

Stop Using Mental Illnesses as Insults

Stop Using Mental Illnesses as Insults

Using mental illnesses as insults is unfair to that person and to those with mental illness. Find out why we must stop using mental illnesses as insults now.

Using mental illnesses as insults is invalidating and harmful. These days, it’s hard to go far without coming across the topic of mental health and mental illness. Considering it’s still such a taboo subject that people shy away from, this seems like something we should be rejoicing over as advocates and activists — and I would, but for the fact that it’s still being spoken of in negative, stigmatizing words. Although people are mentioning mental illness seemingly more and more, all it’s doing it adding to the already existing stigma since mental illness is being used to insult people.

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How We Ask About a Person’s Mental Illness Matters

How We Ask About a Person’s Mental Illness Matters

How you ask about a person's mental illness matters to them. Your words can raise awareness and reduce stigma and self-stigma around mental illness. Learn more.

How we ask about a person’s mental illness matters because language can stigmatize mental illness. At the core of stigmatizing mental health conversations, is the idea that mental illnesses are not real, legitimate illnesses. It’s one of the basics when talking about mental illness, and to some degree, it seems like we should be well past this statement by now. But we’re not. It’s not just naysayers of mental illness that make the mistake, either; in some cases, even those who have mental illness or know someone who does still don’t know what to say to someone with a mental illness. They seem to want to think of mental illness as something other than a sickness and end up contributing to stigma in the questions they ask about a person’s mental illness.

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You Can’t Diagnose an Eating Disorder by Looking at Someone

You Can’t Diagnose an Eating Disorder by Looking at Someone

Do you think you can diagnose an eating disorder by looking at someone? Learn why body size can't diagnose eating disorders and why that stigma is dangerous.

No one can diagnose an eating disorder by looking at someone’s body type; yet, when we think about eating disorders, there are probably two images that pop into our minds: Someone who’s painfully thin and another person who’s largely overweight. The problem with that kind of thinking is instead of seeing eating disorders as mental illnesses, we see them as body types. As harmless as it may seem, if you try to diagnose an eating disorder by body type, it is a form of mental health stigma.

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Do You Isolate Yourself Because of Mental Health Stigma?

Do You Isolate Yourself Because of Mental Health Stigma?

Mental health stigma can isolate us, but we must remember we're not alone. Read this for tips how to overcome the urge to isolate yourself due to stigma.Some people with mental illness isolate themselves to feel protected from mental health stigma. Because stigma labels someone as an outlier, many people withdraw when feeling stigmatized for their mental health. Apart from the stigma of mental illness and self-stigma making us feel poorly about ourselves in general, seeing stigmatizing ideas all over the media, hearing them spoken to us, or even thinking them to ourselves can amplify the sense of isolation that mental illness already brings. We need ways to counter the isolation that mental health stigma brings as loneliness can lead to hopelessness and negatively impact recovery.

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Sharing Your Mental Health Story If You’re Afraid of Stigma

Sharing Your Mental Health Story If You’re Afraid of Stigma

Many want to share a mental health story, but are scared to talk openly about mental illness. Read this for 5 ways to start talking even if you're scared.

You may want to share your mental health story, but feel afraid even though many people have opened up about mental illness. We know that talking about mental health encourages others to do so as well. That sense of community and having a precedent of someone else talking about mental illness may have paved the way for you. However, seeing the negative reactions stories about mental illness have a habit of getting can be a deterrent. Mental health stigma can cause a lot of fear and anxiety. Here are some tips on how to get past that fear of stigma when you want to share your mental health story.

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How to Handle News Coverage That Stigmatizes Mental Illness

How to Handle News Coverage That Stigmatizes Mental Illness

News coverage that stigmatizes mental illness by linking tragedies to mental illness can be problematic for many people. Find out how and what to do.
News coverage that stigmatizes mental illness often occurs after events like mass shootings and other tragedies. The reporters often bring up mental health and how that may have played a part in what happened. Whether or not there is even any initial evidence of mental illness, the fact that someone could commit such an atrocity invokes assumptions of mental instability. People then tend to associate that idea with mental illness as a blanket statement, despite how complex and different individual mental illnesses are. With these conversations inevitably comes misinformation and stigma, and when these news stories saturate our social media and even traditional media sources, it can be tough to contend with as someone with a mental illness. News coverage that stigmatizes mental illness creates problems for society and individuals, and here are two ways it happens.

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How Does Mental Illness Affect Criminal Behavior?

How Does Mental Illness Affect Criminal Behavior?

While not all criminals have mental illness, sometimes mental illness affects criminal behavior. Explaining the connection would help end stigma.

Mental illness can affect criminal behavior, but it’s important to dissociate people with mental illness from violent acts and criminality in general. People often assume that a person must be mentally ill to commit an especially heinous crime. This stigma has been discussed at length, including how people with mental health issues are more likely to be victims of violent crime, but I want to approach the conversation about mental illness and criminal behavior differently.

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Facing Stigma From Within the Mental Health Community

Facing Stigma From Within the Mental Health Community

Stigma from within the mental health community shocked me last week at a mental health fair. Stigma comes from anywhere-even from people who should know better.

Stigma from within the mental health community is the last place I expected to come across stigma for mental illnesses. Last Wednesday, I went to a mental health event that was about mental illness in general, as opposed to focused on one kind or another. I was at the mental health fair, called MindFest, with the Canadian BFRB Support Network (CBSN), Canada’s only non-profit geared towards raising awareness and providing resources for people with body-focused repetitive behaviors (BFRBs). Since BFRBs are a lesser-known group of disorders, I expected questions, but I didn’t expect stigma from within the mental health community — the people in attendance.

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Mental Health Awareness Weeks Are Important to Combat Stigma

Mental Health Awareness Weeks Are Important to Combat Stigma

It may seem like there are too many awareness weeks, but mental health awareness weeks play a role in combatting mental illness stigma. Read to find out how.

Awareness weeks for mental health are critical. The sheer mention of an awareness week of any sort may already have you groaning. I know I’ve heard and seen comments from people complaining about how there’s an awareness week for everything. That could be true, but they’re a vital part of the dissemination of information and breaking down stigmas associated with whatever cause they’re for. For causes such as mental illness awareness, awareness weeks are an especially poignant way to demystify what mental illnesses are and are not.

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Use Self-Care Before Mental Health Stigma Breaks You Down

Use Self-Care Before Mental Health Stigma Breaks You Down

Mental health stigma can break you down to the point of triggering your mental illness. That makes self-care as important as mental health advocacy. Here's why.

We can be broken down by mental health stigma. Mental health stigma surrounds us everywhere, whether we’re aware of it or not — in movies, television shows, news, literature, and the list goes on. Despite each source generally rehashing the same stigma-fuelled notions and images (or perhaps because of it), the fact that there’s so much stigma can be really draining and we ought to take a moment to practice self-care before mental health stigma breaks us down.

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