5 Ways to Challenge the Mental Health Stigma  

We are so accepting if any part of our body is breaking down. We might think that our knees are clicking through age, muscles are sore from exercising, headaches from dehydration and we are happy to discuss these as we hobble around.

When it comes to our brains, however, we find it more difficult to talk about our mental state. That’s why people try to deal with their mental illness and fear quietly by themselves. The fear of talking about mental health stems from a fear of judgement. When we think this way, we assume that we will be judged and if everyone thinks this way, the mould is never going to be broken.

But how can we help break this mould? 

3 minute read

16 May 2023

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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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