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.
"For us at Hemsley Fraser, we're really putting employee wellbeing and mental health at the top our agenda. A dedicated group of individuals have pulled together and are Mental Health First Aiders and we're all from different departments which allows us to understand the overall health of the business and most importantly, the people. We're still on the journey, but we're starting to break the stigma of workplace mental health." - Christopher Broad, Mental Health First Aider and Finance Administration at Hemsley Fraser.
There are many other ways as people and organisations we can break the stigma, but it starts with you.
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