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Surviving Mental Health Stigma

Meagon Nolasco
The lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual, etc. (LGBTQIA+) community faces barriers when searching for inclusive mental health care. These barriers can include uneducated providers, discrimination within a community practice setting, and financial hardships that limit provider options. Acknowledging that these barriers exist for the LGBTQIA+ mental health community is the first step in eradicating them.
Laura A. Barton
It's perhaps an odd thing to say, but it's okay to get mad about mental health stigma. The reason I wanted to broach this discussion at all is because I know many, myself included, often talk about being calm and collected when it comes to stigma. After something that happened recently, I wanted to say it's also okay to be made when stigma for mental health is perpetuated.
Laura A. Barton
Conversations and awareness efforts for mental health and mental illness do talk about certain disorders, but there are still many mental health conditions we generally don't talk about that we need to destigmatize. Because there is this narrowness of conversation and the heavy stigma around many mental illnesses, there's some work to do when it comes to even approaching how we can tackle the stigma they face.
Laura A. Barton
The global pandemic has altered many aspects of our day-to-day lives, but what is its impact on mental health stigma? From what I've seen of discussions and news reports and so forth, more and more folks are experiencing mental health struggles during this change in lifestyle and time of uncertainty. I wonder, though, what impact that might have on how mental health is treated by society.
Laura A. Barton
As open as I am about my depression, I'm not completely open about it. I'll talk about having depression and how dark it can get, which is done both in an effort of catharsis and to show others who may be going through the same thing that they're not as alone as depression can make us feel. It's also an important part of taking on mental health stigma, which is something I strive for whenever I can. Ironically, mental health stigma can be a part of what keeps me from being completely open about my depression.
Laura A. Barton
Does mental health stigma make you feel like an imposter? I've been thinking about this question because the more I look at mental health stigma, the more I can see it entangled in certain aspects of the mental health conversation I didn't expect. Let's take a look at imposter syndrome and mental health stigma.
Laura A. Barton
A "Forbes" article from 2019 cites that 80 percent of New Year's Resolutions fail, sharing a number of reasons why that happens.[1] When it comes to your mental health goals, can stigma be one of the things derailing your resolutions? We're nearing the end of this first month into the new year, and I know many people will be evaluating how they're doing with their resolutions, so I wanted to take a look at this topic.
Laura A. Barton
I see a certain question come up time and again in discussions about health—which is more important: physical or mental health? Even if no one directly asks that question, the undertone of a large number of these conversations pits these two aspects of health against one another. We're even seeing it now with the global pandemic that continues to shake the world.
Laura A. Barton
One important thing for folks to realize is that mental health struggles don't take a holiday. Given the year that 2020 has been and the on-going restrictions on gatherings across the globe, I imagine that it may be easier to see than ever before, with the holidays looking different than usual. All the same, I wanted to take time to comment on mental health struggles during the holiday season and how mental health stigma factors into that.
Laura A. Barton
Coping with unintentional mental health stigma is an important skill to have. The reason for that is even people with the best intentions can stigmatize mental health with their words or actions. Although they might now mean any harm, there's still the potential for harm, and having the tools to cope with those situations is useful.