For far too long, mental illness and mental health has been associated with bad stigmas and stereotypes, but enough is enough! It’s time to put a stop to all the hate and insensitivity. A stigma causes people to be ashamed of something that is out of their control and keeps them from seeking the help that they need.

While we have seen a decrease in stigmas in recent years, it is not nearly fast enough! Let’s take a look at a few things we can all do to speed this along, and maybe one day we can eradicate mental health stigmas all together.

Talk openly about mental health

The first, and probably most important, thing we can do is to start an open and honest conversation with those around us. If you are the one starting the conversation, make sure you have enough time for an in-depth conversation. Start out with how long you have been struggling and how that has made you feel. Then go into what symptoms you are actually struggling with.

If you are the one someone is talking to about their mental health, listen! Let them finish their thoughts before you respond. No matter what they are telling you, avoid being judgmental and take them seriously. Try to not minimize the way they are feeling. They are coming to you because they trust you and they want to be honest with you. Try to empathize with them and really understand what they are going through. [1]

Educate yourself and others

The next thing to do once you have started the conversation is to educate yourself and others. Most people are afraid of what they don’t understand, so try to make them understand. Not all mental illness is the same and they all affect people differently. Begin with your personal story and go from there. Here are a few good resources to get you started:

Show Compassion for those with Mental Illness.

Last but certainly not least, show some compassion to those suffering with mental illness. Too many people are suffering in silence and never get the help they need, and far too often the result is further problems and sometimes, even suicide.

The best ways to show compassion for mental illness is to be there for them, take their mind off their illness, check in on them, and make sure they know they are not alone![2]

1 in 5 American adults have been diagnosed with a form of mental illness. If you are suffering, it is important for you to know that you are not alone in this. There are people out there going through the same things, and it’s time for you to get the help and treatment you need. A clinical trial may be a good option. There are mental health studies enrolling near you now. All study-related care is provided at no cost and compensation is available for qualified participants. Visit MyLocalStudy.com to search for studies in your area today.

[2] https://www.powerofpositivity.com/show-compassion-mental-illness/

[1] http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/conditions/time-talk-tips-talking-about-your-mental-health