Having a mental illness can be both difficult and at times beautiful. At Sage Day, we celebrate differences and focus on emotional support for our students and staff. However, in society, there is still an underlying stigma attached to mental illness. This can manifest in two ways: social stigma and self-stigma. Social stigma is the reaction people have toward those who suffer from any mental illness. It’s often explained as a type of discrimination and it’s a more serious issue than many realize. Self- stigma is something that those who suffer from mental illness experience when society has an uncomfortable reaction against them. Here are some ways to help fight to #EndTheStigma.
- Educate yourself – Challenge the stereotypes of mental illness by knowing the facts. It’s important for you to know both the facts and the myths about mental illness so that you can more comfortably talk about real struggles and what is fictional. Knowing the truth about mental illness can help you pass along the correct information and raise awareness.
- Be aware of your own attitudes – Living in a society where people are judgmental is difficult, especially for those who are suffering from mental illness. Realizing your own prejudices is an important step in being an ally to those with mental illness. It’s important to intentionally put the labels aside and embrace the unique traits that different people have to offer.
- Support – Making yourself available to those who suffer from mental illness can make a significant impact. You shouldn’t treat them any differently because it may cause them to feel uncomfortable, or like an “other”. It’s important to encourage them any way you can, whether it be having a friendly conversation, or inviting them to hang out at lunch or after school. Putting the effort into being there for someone does not go unnoticed.
- Talk About It – Most people don’t talk about mental health in a positive way. Some don’t talk about it at all. Accepting the fact that mental illness exists is a huge part in fighting against the stigma.
On May 1st 2018, from 6:30-8pm, Sage Day will be at Ramsay High School for the Stigma-Free Walk-a-Thon to wipe out the stigma against mental illness. Join us!