Our society is getting better about dealing with mental illnesses, but the stigma is still abound. One in five adults suffers from mental health issues every year.
Stigma is the societal shame that is placed on people with mental illnesses. It is the person telling you, "What do you have to be depressed about?." It's the family member telling you to "just lighten up." It's the people who judge you if you can't work.
Sometimes we put this stigma on ourselves. We feel ashamed about our conditions, or we are worried about what would happen if you told your friends, or boss, or partner, etc.
These negative stereotypes can be more than just stigma. Some people have a prejudice against those of us that are suffering with these diseases.
According to the Huffington Post:
"The negative stereotypes that shame those with mental illness and prevent them from seeking help don’t just constitute stigma ― they’re discrimination. It’s a blatant, prejudicial outlook on a certain population."
Even some doctors stigmatize the mentally ill. Primary care doctors are a lot less likely to follow-up with a patient after a mental illness or mental health diagnosis. They are more likely to be involved with other chronic illness diagnoses. This is unsettling because many people go to primary care physicians for mental health problems. Some people need referrals because of their insurance. Some people just don't want to deal with the stigma of seeing a psychiatrist.
We need to stop this discrimination, so everyone who needs help can get it without fear of bad consequences.