All of us can help tackle the stigmas of mental health one conversation at a time. Here are 5 ways you can start today.
1) Be conscious about your word choice
When it comes to talking about or discussing mental health, words matter. We might unconsciously label people and conditions in a way that could be seen as negative. Certain language choices can cause offence if we use words carelessly.
2) Share your story
Sharing your own stories can sometimes seem daunting especially if we have hidden our own mental health or stresses. When we haven’t shared our story but are building up to it, the anxiety of it can create barriers because of our own stigma against mental health.
3) Treat conversations on mental pain like you would physical pain
To help fight stigma on mental health, discuss mental illness as you would do with physical illness. If someone had a bad back and was struggling to pick something off the floor, the majority of people would help pick it up.
4) Say no to self-stigma
Congratulations if you have already said no to self-stigma. Some people feel ashamed of their mental health. For example, someone with depression might think to themselves, ‘get over it’ or ‘it’ll pass’, but thinking these things can be just as damaging as someone else saying it to them.
5) Offer to help others
Offer your services as a workplace buddy. Most workplaces will have a first aider for injuries at work. Why not offer yourself as a wellbeing buddy for those who need support.
“Here at Hemsley, we’re really conscious of our efforts to remove stigma and provide support for our employees Mental Health & Wellbeing. More recently, a group of individuals from all walks and levels of the business have banded together to become Mental Health First Aiders, it’s an incentive I am really proud to be a part of.
Our diverse team allows us to understand the overall health of the business and most importantly, the people within it. In the short time we’ve been on this journey, we’ve already made a great impact on our staff, and we are really looking forward to further incorporating an open and honest workplace, where any individual feels heard, safe and most importantly happy to talk about how they really are.” Christopher Broad, Mental Health First Aider and Finance Administration at Hemsley Fraser.
There are many other ways as people and organizations we can break the stigma, but it starts with you.