"Stigma around mental health difficulties stops people from seeking help, inhibits conversations around treatment and keeps a veil of secrecy over the hope that comes with seeing a professional and addressing the issues at hand." - Amber reed
Starting the Conversation
September is Suicide Awareness Month and that means here at Resolve, we are reminding everyone of the importance of starting the conversation around mental health. We will be having a month long series of blogs and social media posts highlighting mental health, giving you tips and tricks for coping, sharing stories from survivors and traveling around the city to spread the word to #starttheconversationkc.
In our office, clinicians have spent the past few months talking about barriers to seeking treatment. The one barrier that continually comes up time and time again is stigma. Stigma is broadly defined as “a mark of disgrace associated with a particular circumstance, quality, or person.”
Stigma around mental health difficulties stops people from seeking help, inhibits conversations around treatment and keeps a veil of secrecy over the hope that comes with seeing a professional and addressing the issues at hand. Stigma and suicidal thoughts thrive in an environment of secrecy, making people feel as though they are the only ones with a specific problem and that help is fruitless. In 2016, in Kansas alone, 1 person died each day by suicide. According to NAMI, nearly 60% of adults with a mental illness have not received treatment in the past year.
What can I do to reduce stigma?
There are many things we can do on a daily basis to reduce stigma associated with mental illness; here are a few starting points:
There is Hope
As a therapist, I have always wished to have some type of a time machine that allowed people to get a glimpse of themselves towards the end of treatment. The changes that people are able to make when they get the right treatment, be that medication or therapy, are incredible. People are resilient, and they are able to grow in change in ways that are unimaginable. Let’s work together to begin reducing the stigma around mental health issues, suicide and seeking help. #starttheconversationkc
Amber Reed, LSCSW, LCAC
Co-owner of Resolve Counseling & Wellness