For those of you that have or love someone who has a mental illness, these tips may seem pretty simple. This is for the people who are entering this world.
These are some simple tips to handle stigma.
First, let's start with a definition of stigma. One type, social stigma is:
"...Characterized by prejudicial attitudes and discriminating behaviour directed towards individuals with mental health problems as a result of the psychiatriclabel they have been given."
One the other side of the spectrum is social stigma or self stigma:
"...the internalizing by the mental health sufferer of their perceptions of discrimination."
Here are some simple (hopefully helpful) tips on coping with stigma:
1. Educate Yourself.
Do some research on your condition(s). You can check out the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Illness). There are tons of resources online.
2. Accept AND Receive Help
Agreeing to go to the doctor is one thing, but you have to want treatment. It helps when you realize there is a problem. There is nothing to be ashamed of. It is best to get help as soon as you have symptoms.
3. Realize you are not your disease.
This is a big one. You are a person with a disease. You are not your disease.
4. Get involved.
Find a support group. Keep and cherish every friend that stays with you after you are diagnosed. Go to support groups. I started a website.